End of Month View – February: Irises and Crocuses

I had been thinking about joining in Helen’s End of Month View for a while and when today started bright and frosty I decided to dedicate the day to trying to photograph my garden at the end of February.

Now I am at that stage of photography where I am certainly not a beginner (having taken photographs for at least forty years – AAAHHHH!  –  I was very young when I started!)  but neither do I know what I am doing.  I am at that terrible in between stage when I know what I am supposed to be doing but can’t quite achieve it.

So 9.30 this morning saw me getting the camera equipment together. The first battle was getting the camera set up on the tripod – do these things really need so many levers, knobs and other adjusters?  Then I took out a recent birthday gift of a large reflector. This is one of those things that somehow twist up into a small area, but once released are never to fold up again!  I also got out my new macro lens (same birthday) as the day was calm and bright and I was determined to get that illusive shot of my iris reticulata. Then I needed something to lie on as most of the flowers out at the moment are inconveniently near the ground!  I finally made it outside and yes the sun was still shining.

I started off trying to photograph the beautiful blue iris reticulata which have naturalised wonderfully around the patio. A lot of them started life as those indoor bulbs you get for Christmas.  Picture me with the camera nicely set up on its tripod while I try to balance the reflector at the right angle and take the photo using a remote.

Then readjusting the settings and taking another picture,

then readjusting the settings and taking another picture. . . . .

then………you get the idea.

In most cases I find the camera’s automatic settings get a much better result that I do trying to be clever!

I have taken about a hundred shots of the garden this morning and then , you will be pleased to hear, a breeze got up which made it even more difficult to get good shots.

So here is a much abridged tour of my garden on the nicest day we have had this year….

Starting around the edge of the patio at the back of the house.

Iris nestling under rhododenrons

Iris nestling under rhododenrons

View of rockery at back of housd

View of rockery at back of housd

crocus

Crocus popping up in rockery

Primula denticulata buds

Primula denticulata buds

Crocus Cream Beauty in Pot

Crocus Cream Beauty in Pot on patio

Even the persicaria at the back door  is showing signs of new life. That is despite a friend of mine mistaking it for a pile of old leaves and giving it a good kick. You know who you are!!!

Persicaria new leaves

Persicaria new leaves

Then round the East house border (note to self: must get more interesting names for the borders in my garden!) the japonica is budding up nicely ready for a lovely spring display.

Japonica buds

Japonica buds

Then we have the main South facing herbaceous border.  It is still looking rather dull though signs of life everywhere.

Starting from the top (near house)…

Fence herbaceous border

Fence herbaceous border

The delphiniums are sprouting well here

Delphiniums emerging in February

Delphiniums emerging in February

A bit further down the border we have a bird bath…

Bird bath and phormium

Bird bath and phormium

Still further down I have a little path and seat – though the seat is away in the garage for the winter.

Middle of border with path and seat

Middle of border with path and seat

The  Bleeding Heart plant has strong new growth. This plant flowered longer than any other last year – even when the flowers were dead they seemed to keep their colour.

Bleeding Heart emerging

Bleeding Heart emerging

Climbing up the new trellis is some honeysuckle that I planted last year. It got powdery mildew and had to be cut right back a couple of times.  It seems to have done it good as it is now looking really vigorous.

Honeysuckle with new growth in February

Honeysuckle with new growth in February

To the right of the path I have a few new plants including Nandina Domestica which I rescued looking very bedraggled from the bargain bench at the local garden centre. It is doing really well but the leaves didn’t turn to Autumnal colours as expected.

New plants including Nandina Domestica

New plants including Nandina Domestica

To the front of this bit I found two lovely white crocuses had appeared overnight!

White crocus

White crocus

Then on to the bottom shady part of the border, which is looking very bare at the moment.

Bottom shady border

Bottom shady border

So that is the main parts of the garden.  I will try to take similar photos as the months go by.

Meanwhile I have a very large reflector to get back into a very small case. . . . .

Next Garden Post:  My Little Princess is all wrapped up and nowhere to go!

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22 thoughts on “End of Month View – February: Irises and Crocuses

  1. Annette you made me giggle at your photography capers, I use a point and shoot camera but did for a while dabble with manual photography in the 1990’s, I hope you got your reflector back in it’s case,
    the hail here has turned back to rain I hope your frost has gone but the sun is out today,
    regarding naming beds/areas I started after I heard a garden panelist say she gives her borders names that remind her of an aspect of the border, like say the long south border or rose border, etc. that way when she sees a plant she likes and is thinking of buying it, it helps her decide where it will best go in the garden or perhaps not at all, so that to some extent is what I’ve done and it has helped me stay focused (most of the time),
    your irises are beautiful and you are so lucky/clever having them naturalise in your garden, you have a lot of promise of things to come I look forward to seeing your garden develop through the year, thanks for a lovely tour around your garden I enjoyed the sun too, Frances

    • Thanks Frances. I will persevere with manual photography. After all I used to manage way back with non digital cameras – there was no choice then. Digital cameras are just so brilliant as you can make as many mistakes as you like without costing you anything. So no excuse. Thanks for your ideas for naming borders – I will have to put my mind to it before I blog much more.

  2. Naming of areas, borders is a problem for me too; mine are mostly named for where they are in the garden but sometimes for a colour theme in that border. Thanks for deciding to follow my blog.

  3. Thanks for the tour round your garden, I like all the flowers that you have, especially the beautiful little iris reticulata. We have names for different parts of the garden, simply so that my husband knows where to find me if he needs me!

    • Hi Pauline, thanks so much for visiting and for following my blog. Your husband is lucky – mine just has to walk round the garden or shout! But maybe your garden is bigger than mine. I will pop over to your blog for a look….

  4. Oh the trials and tribulations of a photographer! I use a DSLR on point and shoot mode, yes I know, but am slowly learning a bit more about it! Your irises do look stunning.
    I shall have to go and have a look to see if my Persicaria is resembling dead leaves. When I bought it, Other Half called it a dock. They are much maligned plants!

    • Hi Jessica, my Persicaria was very slow to get going as I have it in poor soil under shrubs, but now it is fairly romping away. I suppose it does resemble a dock in some ways, but they are great for ground cover. I just have to be careful not to rake it up with the Autumn leaves.

  5. I gave up learning how to use the camera correctly as soon as I opened the instruction booklet. I’m far too lazy! I’m happy to get soggy knees.
    Your garden looks wonderful for this time of the year Annette.
    I do love that Phormium Annette – does it have a name please?

    • Hi Angie – my Dad introduced me to photography at an early age and I used to know what I was doing with the old cameras, but have had to start again with the digital ones. However they are so good, even if you don’t know what you are doing. Sorry but I don’t know the name of the phormium – I have only had it a few years so I may yet come across the label somewhere when I have a big tidy up. It has been great and seems quite hardy too.

  6. Hi Anetta, thanks for joining in with the meme. I did enjoy my tour of your garden. I give parts of my garden names generally based on what is growing there but then I change my mind, change the plants and the name is wrong !

  7. Annette, I am impressed with your success with Iris Reticulata, I always struggled to get them to bloom in second year after planting. Good to see your garden in February and I will also look forward to catching up with it as the season progresses.

    • Hi Alistair,
      Thanks – I am only just realising that these irises can be tricky. I do struggle with other small bulbs and corms, anemone blanda, cyclamen and some crocuses planted in the same area, so it makes me appreciate them all the more.

  8. Pingback: Is it Autumn again or nearly Spring? | My Aberdeen Garden

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