If you just like pictures you can skip this word heavy intro.
I hope this does not sound like pretentious twaddle but here goes.
I think no matter where you are if you have your eyes open when you are out and about then there is going to be something that should be looked at with more than just a glance. Obviously there will be times and places that offer more than others but it has to be a pretty bleak sort of environment that does not offer something that is visually exciting or that brings to mind an 'I wonder why or how'. The visual is very closely connected to the tactile and often subjects that are visually stimulating are begging to be touched. These visual stimulants do not have to be on the grand scale, in fact they are often on the small and mundane level- a bit of twig pressed by a boot into some soft mud - a plastic bag, caught high, flapping in the bare branches of a tree like a trapped bird desperate to free itself or abstract mud splashes on a rendered roadside house rivalling Jackson Pollack a persistent drip from a broken gutter staining a wall, a conjunction of different roof angles all in one tiny part of your field of vision . It is all there to be noticed and then properly seen by working thorough the detail of what it is that pleases you.It can be the contrast of shapes, the play of light, an incongruous juxtaposition, a satisfying blend or contrast of colours, a cloud formation or something inexplicable that fills you with a feeling of awe, wonder, amazement, intimacy or contentment - seek these things out. It is not laborious, your mind will think all these things through in micro fractions of a second. It is these, very often tiny, visual excitements that can lift any day above the routine and can make the whole of life more satisfying.
Many of these highlights go by each day and mostly only you will have enjoyed them. They happen to me all the time and mostly
they are impossible to record and if they weren't they would probably mean little to anyone else because it was the moment as much as the subject which gave the satisfaction. However sometimes I have the camera with me ( no camera on my phone) and manage to record some of the bigger events. They are immensely satisfying to me because I have had the pleasure of the experience as well as being able to look back at the pictures but, at the risk of slipping into undue introspection I am never really sure why I feel the need to put the pictures and some explanation on a blog. Is it an attempt at getting a message across? Probably not because no matter what message I want to send the number of followers I have is not going to get that message out to more than a very few. Is it ego, is it the need to communicate ( a need which the smart phone seems to have us in its non-stop thrall. ), a desperate need to share (another recent phenomenon?) or is it the sheer challenge of trying to get noticed and if I had a million followers would I just give up?
I enjoy communicating but surely there are easier ways than this typing with two fingers stuff. It could be ego though the number of visits to this site will tell you that that is not being satisfied . Is it a need to share? Well someone who posts so occasionally can't be that desperate to share and surely Facebook would be more effective though I do feel that sharing is a part of it.
I enjoy getting things down on paper, it helps to organise and understand your own thoughts, I do enjoy sharing and communicating and I do enjoy seeing images with some text that shows a bit of insight so maybe this is just my harmless selfish indulgence and getting one or two extra followers now and then means perhaps someone does indeed share my way of doing things and they are my occasional bits of icing on the cake.
Having read the first part of this text back to myself the word mindfulness came to mind so I looked up what mindfulness meant and it was not a million miles away from what I was trying to say but rather than calming the mind I would encourage you to get excited over the visual detail of the mundane and overlooked and that might in some way actually be a benefit by distracting you from the heavier problems that are bearing down upon you.
Phew, lighten up Williams!
New posts tweeted on @pwhorticulture
KALE and SPROUTS
I live in South Warwickshire, its very southern tip, and a few minutes down the road we are in Gloucestershire and in the Cotswold AONB . It is sheep country and ideal sprout growing country, Brassicas such as cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflowers and sprouts like limey soil, at least growers like limey soil because its high alkaline pH helps keeps the fungal disease club root at bay.
This colourful field caught my eye when I was driving past and I happened to have the camera so I pulled in.
I thought it was red cabbage at first but as the owner happened top be on site he explained it was a red kale and that several varieties of kale filled the bottom end of the field . Sprouts grew at the top.
So with permission I trod carefully to take a look.
If you are thinking the two pictures below show what a lovely misty morning it was and how atmospheric it must have been early that day ..........
..........then you might be disappointed to know that it was simply that having left the camera in the van all through the previous frosty night that when I brought it out into the relative warmth of the afternoon the lens steamed up and I had not noticed. After a few minutes of acclimatisation the same picture became far less wistful and quite a bit more dynamic as you can see below
These crinkly kale were the best. With a bit of imagination you could see yourself looking down on the treetops of a tropical forest, albeit a very organised one. ( or possibly the back end of some over primped creatures at Crufts.)
Some of them still held a touch of frost which added to their stiffness to the touch and gave them just a hint of sparkle.
Harvested kale looking like some tropical storm has ripped through the north Cotwolds and laid waste to the forest trees.
Bluey grey brassica leaves were a perfect foil for their purple red counterparts. It is a colour scheme that also works well in the ornamental garden perhaps even with the same plants.
Narrow leaved kale looking as tough as I have always found it when it comes to cooking it.
Walking between the spouts I was surprised to see so many on the ground. These had been the first picking which had been discarded when they were seen to have been to be damaged by the diamond back moth. The moth is a pest of all brassicas and though the first sprouts were hit the kales seemed to have escaped. Much higher than usual populations of the moth coming across from Mediterranean countries during the summer combined with pesticide resistance and a fast breeding cycle meant the moths were able to do considerable damage in some regions
The small caterpillars can bore into the sprout as well as strip leaves down to the veins .
It looks like I have an E.T./ Kermit/Ninja Turtle hybrid by the back of the neck here
I have just been sowing some of these Ricinus seeds and I could not resist a picture. They must be some of the most beautifully patterned seeds around and they are definitely amongst the most poisonous seeds if not the most poisonous. Be careful.
The grown plant makes a fantastic and dramatic foliage plant for large annual
Barton House, Barton On the Heath.
I was invited to take a walk around Barton House last year just before one of its open days. Quite quirky mix of styles, plants, history and sculptures. Well worth a visit, next opening 28th May.
This is not the way to punish your children.
A follysome pavilion
A stem bent wooden bench by Gaze Burvill in front of ................
a thicket of shrub I could not figure out, it might be hazel and ...........
two South American stone figures or are they Eastern? Anyway they are playing rounders.
Like I say , Worth a trip in May, If you happen to be down that way.
I went to Iran in February.
Great country, great people, incredible history.
Great trip with Uppersia.
More pictures next time.