Category Archives: Personal

East Lothian: A Botanical Year

East Lothian: A Botanical Year
East Lothian: A Botanical Year
East Lothian: A Botanical Year
East Lothian: A Botanical Year
East Lothian: A Botanical Year
East Lothian: A Botanical Year

Next month I’m delighted to be exhibiting a collection of photographs with the title “East Lothian: A Botanical Year”, which will take place at the Dunbar Town House from 15th to 30th July. Stay tuned for details. Meantime, here are a couple of images to whet the appetite.

Spring wild flowers in Portugal

Spring wild flowers in Portugal
Spring wild flowers in Portugal
Spring wild flowers in Portugal
Spring wild flowers in Portugal
Spring wild flowers in Portugal
Spring wild flowers in Portugal

I spend a lot of time in Portugal, as we are lucky enough to have a small home in the north central hills of the country. At Easter I photographed some of the wild flowers that grow in profusion around our village. If anyone can help me to identify the name of the deep blue flower you see here (the final image), I’d be most grateful!

Twilight garden

Twilight garden
Twilight garden
Twilight garden
Twilight garden
Twilight garden
Twilight garden

When I heard that Lia Leendertz had written a book called Twilight Garden I knew immediately that I had to have it. When I bought it a few days ago it seemed to pulsate through its packaging all the way through dinner time, until finally I could resist no longer and hurried up to bed with it. Tucked up under the duvet, I read it lovingly from cover to cover. This is truly a book that speaks to my heart. Ever since I first moved into my seaside home I have been working hard to create a garden that works for me during the day but also in the evenings. For me, one of the most important aspects of a garden is scent. I adore roses and lavender and sweet peas, all of which grow well in my garden and delight my eyes and nose during the day, but to accompany me through the summer months I also grow tobacco plant, honeysuckle, night-scented stock and jasmine – my flowers of the evening. My most treasured part of the summertime is the time that I spend sitting outside after dinner, glass of wine in hand, watching the moon rise as different scents weave their way through the air.

As a photographer I have increasingly tried to capture the way that gardens look, and feel, at twilight. Photographers such as Linda Rutenberg have made a name through photographing gardens at dead of night, and indeed it was from Linda that I first learned the technique of ‘painting with light’, or using a torch to illuminate a scene during a long exposure. (You can see some of the results, from Abbotsford and Alnwick walled gardens, in the Gardens gallery of this site.) But for me the special time is the ‘blue hour’, when sun has set but the light has not yet disappeared from the sky, and the flowers in the garden start to take on a luminous glow. The images in this post were taken at this time. Incidentally, the Portuguese have a wonderful name for twilight: ‘lusco-fusco’ (pronounced looshko-fooshko) – marvellous!

Lia’s book beautifully encapsulates everything that I love about the garden at twilight. Amongst other things, the book reminds me that I should do more entertaining. I have frequently set about placing candles in jam jars around the garden of an evening, but why do this purely for myself when others could enjoy it too? I am resolved to start designing little invitation cards for friends and neighbours, ready to be distributed when (and it doesn’t seem so far away now) the first meal of the summer can be eaten outdoors.

Meantime, I am on a mission to grow some Hesperis matronalis (sweet rocket) and buy some more tealights…