Garden Peony


I have always been around peonies. My mom and dad grew them, and I grow them now … well I just let them get on with the growing. This is a double peony, and it is newly blossoming. I liked the way the morning light had caught it, and tried to capture it just as it was in that moment. I tidied a few distractions up with the patch and clone tools in my photo editor, and added just a little high pass sharpening. Sometimes less is better. Double-click image to enlarge.


Peony

© Peter Hillman ♦ 6th May 2020 ♦ rear garden, South Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Beautiful Blue


This is a Panola … a cross between a pansy and a viola. I planted them last autumn in some pots to give the garden a little winter colour, and they are still going beautifully.

I like to challenge myself in photography, and I try to aim to refrain from cropping where possible, but I know that is not always possible to do, but I managed it here. My aim was not only to capture the heart of the flower and the detail not always seen there in normal naked eye viewing, but also the vivid colours. I refrained from using flash, and captured the image outside of harsh sunlight. In post-processing I altered the white balance slighlty to get close on the original colouring as I had under exposed fractionally. I also reduced any noise, and sharpened using the high pass filter rather than smart sharpen, as I wanted it to be subtle. Double-click image to enlarge.

Panola

© Peter Hillman ♦ 12th April 2020 ♦ Local wood, Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Japanese Rose


Kerria japonica – These flowers are from a deciduous shrub which was already growing in my garden from the day I moved here almost 30 years ago. It goes by different names, but there are no thorns on this rose. It never fails to display these small, bright yellow pom pom flowers.


Japanese Rose Kerria japonica

© Peter Hillman ♦ 1st April 2020 ♦ rear garden, Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Common Lungwort


Pulmonaria officinalis – This is the flower the bees and the hoverflies love to drink from. It is quite an important early flowering plant for spring pollinators. I am always taken how the colour of the flowers vary so differently on the same plant – bi-coloured. You can double-click image to zoom in.


Common Lungwort Pulmonaria officinalis

© Peter Hillman ♦ 16th March 2020 ♦ Back garden, Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Like Ornamental Glass

Geranium

This is a hardy Geranium after rain, one of the few remaining flowers left in the garden as autumn deepens. The flower is so delicate and refined with those shimmering raindrops it is like it is made from the finest glass.

This can be quite tricky to photograph. Besides the lighting conditions, it all depends on where you focus as the depth of field can go anywhere. I always use manual mode for full control, and take several photos, picking the one which I think works the best.  I tried to keep it soft on the side edges, ensuring the background was completely blurred. This makes the flower and its details pop more, especially if you can tone down the back lighting, too.

Double click if you wanna get closer…

October 2019 © Pete Hillman.

End of Season Flowers

Water Mint Mentha aquatica

The Water Mint (Mentha aquatica) has gone mad again this year, spreading its roots and sprouting throughout the garden pond. Yet its sweet sugary goodness attracts many insects, so it is always good in that respect. This is one of the last blooms which I wanted to try and capture before they all disappeared with the advance of autumn.

September 2019 © Pete Hillman.

Looking Differently

Petunia

As you know I like to get close to things, and I chose a Petunia which has been growing in one of my containers on the patio for this one. I was so attracted to its deep rich colours and the intricate veins spreading through the petals like ink stains on blotting paper.

Rear garden. September 2019 © Pete Hillman.

A Bit of Garden Shade

fuschia

Out of the glare of the sun you can see more details in the most delicate of blossoms. I isolated this fuschia bloom in a shady corner of the garden once the sun had moved around.

© Pete Hillman August 2019.

Rain Again

Pencilled Cranes-bill Geranium versicolor

Click and click again on the image to get that little bit closer …


Hardy geranium. June 2019, rear garden, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

A Drenched Beauty

This is one of the best years for peonies I have known here. I do love the rain so long it doesn’t pour endlessly, and this morning it was but a brief spell. I love the freshness and invigoration it brings to the garden, so I couldn’t resist popping out with my camera when the rain had stopped.

The flowers were heavy with the raindrops, looking almost as if they were bowing. I have a special place for Peonies. My parents grew them back home, and they remind me of my younger years growing up, and so enjoying those warm sunny spring days.


May 2019, rear garden, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

Catching The Sun

Autmum fell to winter, and winter flew and we are already enjoying a wonderful spring here on this side of the pond. Finally I made it back after a fairly long hiatus, and I will look forward to catching up with you all!

This is one of my favourites which seemingly appeared out of nowhere in one of my flowerbeds. The Welsh Poppy Meconopsis cambrica has a the most beautiful sunny colours, so bright, cheery and vibrant the petals almost appear to capture the sun itself.


May 2019, rear garden, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.


PS: Has anybody used the new ‘Block’ editor yet, and what do you think about it?

Butterflies And Lavender

Gatekeeper Pyronia tithonus

I have three Lavender bushes in my small garden, and the bees and butterflies really enjoy visiting them. Next year I may consider planting a lavender hedge, if I can make room for one. This butterfly with the twin spots is called the Gatekeeper (Pyronia tithonus).

Gatekeeper Pyronia tithonus

Gatekeeper Pyronia tithonus

Click once to expand view, click again to get that little bit closer


July 2018, rear garden, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

Catching The Early Sunlight

Opium Poppy Papaver somniferum

Last night was a very hot and close one, so sleep was quite restless. So up early to find this Opium Poppy (Papaver somniferum) flower catching the first rays of sunlight.

Opium Poppy Papaver somniferum

Click once to expand view, click again to get that little bit closer


June 2018, rear garden, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

Opening Mid-summer II

Opium Poppy Papaver somniferum

Opium Poppy Papaver somniferum

Now if this plant grows feet and start walking about the garden I will be worried. There has been no meteor showers of late, has there? Although it does look like it is about to ballet dance around the flowerbed to me.

Click once to expand view, click again to get that little bit closer


Opium Poppy (Papaver somniferum) June 2018, rear garden, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

Opening Mid-summer

Opium Poppy Papaver somniferum

Every few years (actually quite a few numbers of years can pass) and one of these beautiful Opium Poppies (Papaver somniferum) will just appear out of nowhere in my back garden. This one is quite a monster in size and has many heads like the mythical Hydra.

Click once to expand view, click again to get that little bit closer


June 2018, rear garden, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

Let’s Have Some Marmalade!

Marmalade Hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus

By pure coincidence as I was photographing the garden pond for the previous blog to my joy I had this delightful little visitor alight on the Yellow Flag Iris.

Marmalade Hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus

It is called the Marmalade Hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus, and I had to do quite the balancing act, getting my socks wet more than once, to get these photos as it had landed on the Iris which is growing in the pond.

Marmalade Hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus

At first it appeared to be feeding or drinking water droplets from the flower, but it was also giving its back legs a good washing.

Marmalade Hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus

Whatever it was doing it certainly brightened up this rainy, grey leaden day for me 🙂

Marmalade Hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus

Click once to expand view, click again to get that little bit closer


May 2018, garden pond, rear garden, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman Sigma 18-300mm with AML72-01 achromatic macro lens and Sigma 105mm macro lens. Yep, it even gave me time to change lenses between shots.

Garden Pond After 2 Years

Garden Pond

As requested by my blogging friend Vicki (who has a lovely blog called ‘Living With nature’), here are some pics of the garden pond as it has grown and established itself over the past two years. No sun today so very grey and overcast when I took these photos. It’s only very small, but it does attract wildlife. Birds will come and drink or bathe in the water. Hoverflies, damselflies and water beetles have bred in the pond. Frogs and toads visit regular. And the Pfeiffer’s Amber Snail (Oxyloma elegans) has taken up permanent residence there.

Oh, and can you spot the Marmalade? A hoverfly that is? 🙂 I will feature the Marmalade Hoverfly in my next blog.

Garden Pond

Yellow Flag Iris Iris pseudacorus

May 2018, garden pond, rear garden, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman Sigma 18-300mm.

Finally, After 3 Years …

Yellow Flag Iris Iris pseudacorus

After 3 years since I built my small garden pond and planted this Yellow Flag Iris Iris pseudacorus it has flowered for the very first time to my joy. This is the first bloom, and it looks like there are many more to come.

Yellow Flag Iris Iris pseudacorus

Yellow Flag Iris Iris pseudacorus

Yellow Flag Iris Iris pseudacorus

Click once to expand view, click again to get that little bit closer


May 2018, garden pond, rear garden, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman Sigma 18-300mm.

Snow-in-summer

Snow in summer Cerastium tomentosum

Snow-in-summer (Cerastium tomentosum).

This was taken in the shade as the sun had moved around the garden this late afternoon. Trying out my new Sigma 18-300mm DC macro lens for the first time, and seeing what it can do. Will need to practice more to get the hang of it.

May 2018, rear garden, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman

Season’s First

Pencilled Cranes-bill Geranium versicolor

Coming home from work this afternoon I spotted this single Pencilled Cranes-bill Geranium versicolor, the first of the season, and just had to takes its picture.

May 2018, rear garden, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman

Blue Is The Hue

Grape Hyacinth Muscari armeniacum

Blue is the main hue in my garden now as many of these delightful Grape Hyacinths burst into life in the borders. One of my favourite spring garden flowers.

Grape Hyacinth Muscari armeniacum, April 2018, rear garden, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman

Spring In The Garden Pond

Marsh Marigold Caltha palustris

Marsh Marigold Caltha palustris, April 2018, rear garden pond, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman