Speke Hall is a National Trust property on the banks of the Mersey. Their formal gardens were full of colour in the Summer of 2016. I loved the reds and pinks in these flowers. It’s probably not a coincidence that I started editing the initial images for this picture around Valentines day.
Helicopter is what I always called the seeds from the Sycamore tree. The wonderful spinning orange, brown and green seeds are always a sure sign the Autumn is here bringing majestic sunsets and a huge range of colourful leaves and seeds. The seeds in this picture were collected around my home in Nottingham and photographed in my studio.
In the summer of 2015 I visited Arley Hall & Gardens in Cheshire. This privately owned Victorian country house has gardens which are amongst the finest in Britain and are particularly celebrated for the magnificent double herbaceous border. When I visited, I loved the variety of Astrantia plants with flowers of so many different shades of pink and white – commonly known as Hattie’s Pincushion. Here in this design I have layered a selection of my favourites.
Eyam is the Peak District village which famously shut itself off in1665 following an outbreak of bubonic plague. Eyam Hall was built only few years after the village was declared plague free. Now leased to the National Trust, the Hall is open to the public. When I visited at the end of the summer, the gardens were being maintained by two volunteers. These ladies, very generously, allowed me to take some seed-heads from a large patch of Honesty plants growing near the rear of the Hall.
The National Trust property Calke Abbey is actually a country house built in the 1700s. The site though, was the location for an Augustinian priory from the 12th century until its dissolution by Henry VIII. The gardens were in full bloom when I visited in the summer of 2017 and a whole border of head-height Artichoke plants really caught my eye. I love the geometric shapes and the explosion of colour from the thistle-like flowers.
Most of these wonderful Lichen were found on a trip to the Dzamonja Sculpture Park in Croatia. The colour and shapes of these growths reminded me more of something you would find in the sea rather than growing on concrete.
The River Spey rising in the Highlands is important for salmon fishing and whisky production in addition to cutting through some of Scotland’s most beautiful areas. These beautiful and striking lichen were photographed along the banks of the Spey around the Aviemore area.
César Manrique was an artist who was born and worked largely in Lanzarote. He had a large influence on the look of the island and preventing it becoming overly commercialised. His art ranges from painting, sculpture and amazing architecture. Two houses on the island are dedicated to his life and work and I visit as often as I can. On my trip in 2014 I spotted a large area of mini white lichen growths in the garden area of the Foundation.
The beautiful dandelion seed heads were growing in the borders of All Saints Church in Ilkley Yorkshire. Though not welcome to gardeners, I love the structural design and delicacy of these seeds. I photographed them on site as the slightest draft or motion would cause them to eagerly shed. Luckily on this occasion I didn’t need to explain why I was crawling around on my hands and knees in the church yard.