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November 2011

Whatever the weather

My lovely hubby doesn't get a mention very often on this blog, - but in 2011, he's got a lot more interested in gardening, - particularly community gardening with Grace and Flavour. This means that this year for Birthday and Christmas, the gadgets that he's bought can be much more garden related.


He's been eyeing up the weather station that my Mum and Dad have for months, - so we now have one of our own attached to our greenhouse.

The weather is always a topic for conversation amongst gardeners. I know that I don't have to get out of bed in the morning but just have to look at my twitter feed to see what early rising gardeners all over the country are making of the morning conditions and how they relate to what they'll be doing today. - Now we can join in and tell people what the wind speed is, - how much rain has fallen, the humidity and pressure plus what the temperature is. All without leaving the kitchen of course (benefits of wireless technology).

Now this morning for instance the temperature has risen to a balmy 5.9 degrees C, from frozen - so it's time for me to go and do some weeding.

Garden photography weekend at West Dean college

I love taking photos of what i'm doing in gardens. - I share a few of them on this blog, and i've received some lovely comments about them, but I have to admit that up to very recently, I didn't really know what I was doing to get the pictures, which meant that the good ones were rather random.

However in the last couple of months, i've sent myself on 2 photography courses to help turn my snaps into proper pics.

The first was at the end of September with Vicki Knights. - you can read about it on her blog.

I learnt a huge amount about light, and how to get it to fall on your subject, and we had a lovely morning practising, but it whetted my appetite to learn even more, - so this weekend I had a WHOLE weekend away at West Dean College near Chichester.

For anyone that hasn't made it to West Dean, - the college is set in the most wonderful landscape and garden surroundings.

Majestic trees and parkland are interspersed with sheep grazing.

Our first assignments were about composition. - Ensuring we were using the rule of thirds (or knowing when we were breaking it)

The kitchen gardens gave us a plethora of subjects,- and the rows of fantastic vegetables meant that I took more than my alloted 8 shots for this session. (yep how often do you go out on a an hour's session and take only 8 shots, - really makes you think)


Then we went on to practise depth of field,


Jacqui Hurst our tutor put herself up as a model so that we could practice techniques including White Balance, Using flash and back lighting.


we even got to try some night photography (no flashes allowed)


and although by the end of the course my brain was aching with the amount of information i've taken in, - i'd had the most wonderful time been fed and watered really well, - had some great company for the weekend, and was really happy with the photos i'd acheived.


I'd really recommend West Dean as a Garden to walk around, and if you are into photography, fine arts or crafts, their short courses are excellent.



Autumn leaf colour to put a November smile on your face.

I do love November,- maybe it's because it's a birthday month in this house, or because I love walks through piles of leaves, or because I love the abundance of fresh apples to eat. Maybe it's the colours in the leaves.

Probably a lot to do with the last one.

I went for a walk to Wisley at the beginning of the week with William. - They currently have lovely paper bags with leaves printed on the outside, so we had a fantastic couple of hours searching for the right varieties to fill the bag.


With Liquidamber, Quercus, Gingko, Nyssa and Betula on the list we had a great time picking up the best coloured leaves.

If you've got room in your garden, the best large specimen trees have to be either Liquidamber Worplesdon or Nyssa sylvatica Wisley Bonfire. Here they are in all their glory


Not that small gardens have to miss out on the fantastic leaf and bark colour.


With Acers, (and grasses) Nandina and Prunus Serrula giving fantastic autumn colour.

Enjoy the colours while you can,  - with heavy rain forecast at the weekend, we are likely to have soggy leaves on the ground by next week.