Category Archives: Nature’s Art

Wordless Wednesday: Northern Marsh Orchid

Northern Marsh Orchid - Whitburn coastal path

J Peggy Taylor

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Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Sunderland’s Fountains

A trip to Sunderland is not complete for our family without a visit to Sunderland Winter Gardens and Mowbray Park.

Fountain - Sunderland Winter Gardens
Fountain – Sunderland Winter Gardens

The “Winter Gardens” is really an absolutely enormous greenhouse, full of exotic plants such as banana plants and pitcher plants that you’d normally find in a tropical rainforest. It’s probably hardly surprising that in this mini rainforest, water features are important. One of our favourite water features is this stainless steel fountain. The water cascades down the surface of the tall steel tower, making wonderful wave patterns and catching the light as it flows.

Fountain - Mowbray Park, Sunderland
Fountain – Mowbray Park, Sunderland

Right outside of Sunderland Winter Gardens is Mowbray Park, a lovely old-fashioned municipal park, complete with a duck pond and this rather marvelous fountain. I love the way my son has captured the falling water in this shot.

Do take a look at the fountains others have found for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week.

J Peggy Taylor

Mushroom close-up

Zooming out for the bigger picture

“What’s This?” was the question Cee gave us to ponder for last week’s Fun Foto Challenge. We then had a lot of fun trying to work out what other people had posted.

For my entry, I zoomed in on some natural subjects, focusing on shapes and details. This week, I promised to post the original images so you can see the whole zoomed out picture. Here they are …

1. Woodland waterfall

Miniature waterfall on a woodland stream
Miniature waterfall on a woodland stream

This is one of the many small streams (or ‘burns’ as well call them here in The North 😉 ) that flows into the River Derwent in our local woods. I love this miniature waterfall as it cuts its way through the bedrock and pours down onto the next level below, surrounded by woodland greenery. I often find myself reaching for my camera when I see it. For the challenge, I picked out the water splash detail.

2. Hellebores in April snow in a plant pot

Hellebores in April snow in a plant pot
Hellebores in April snow in a plant pot

This is one of the two pots of the “Washfield Doubles” Hellebores I have on the steps by my back door. In this photo from April 2012, it looks like I was focusing on the quantity of late snow, rather than the plant itself! For the challenge, I chose the detail of the concentric curves of the terracotta pot, its black plastic liner and the topping of clean white snow.

3. Worm’s eye view of a woodland mushroom

Worm's eye view of a large woodland mushroom
Worm’s eye view of a large woodland mushroom

As I am not in the habit of crawling on my belly in beechwoods, you will notice this photo was taken by my son! I am always drawn to the unusual angles of this set of mushroom shots so I thought it would be perfect for the “What’s this?” challenge.

I enjoyed Cee’s photo challenge. I hope you enjoy my zoomed-out photos!

J Peggy Taylor

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: What’s This?

Zooming in on photo details can sometimes play tricks on our brains. “What’s this?” we ask. Can we guess without more context?

Here are my zoomed-in photo subjects for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week. Nature was my muse … as she so often is for my photos 😉

1. What's this zoomed-in image
1. What’s This?
2. What's this zoomed-in image?
2. What’s This?
What's this zoomed-in image?
3. What’s This?

Next week I will create a post showing the original photos, so you can see my zooms in context!

You can join in the fun and see what others have spotted for “What’s This?” on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week.

J Peggy Taylor

Cee's Fun Foto Challenge Badge

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Lime green - Springtime moss

In the lime light for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

Lime or bright green is the theme for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week. As a keen follower of the natural world and the cycle of seasons, green is a colour that is very much part of my world. In my corner of the UK, I find bright greens are a colour I mainly associate with Summer or Springtime, such as the newly sprouted tufts of clean, green moss in my header image that brighten the floor of our beechwoods.

Lime green - Homegrown Salad leaves
Lime green – Homegrown Salad leaves

Springtime for me is also the beginning of the salad-growing season. I love the contrast of the red against lime green in my window ledge ‘garden’ of mixed salad leaves.

Lime green - Summer sun through grass
Lime green – Summer sun through grass

With the Summer sun shining through, the meadow grasses glowed lime green. My son captured this ground level image.

Lime green - Damselfly on Herb Robert leaf
Lime green – Damselfly on Herb Robert leaf

A Common Blue Damselfly was enjoying the limelight on this bright green Herb Robert leaf.

Lime green - Sunshine on leaves
Lime green – Sunshine on leaves

Woodlands in their Summer glory are filled with many shades of green. Sunshine adds yet more variety as it filters through the trees and highlights some of the leaves.

You can see what others have found on the theme of Lime or Bright Green on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week.

J Peggy Taylor

Happy Summer Solstice :)

Summer wildflowers for Summer Solstice
Summer wildflowers for Summer Solstice

We might have no Summer sunshine to share with you (at least not here in North East England!) but never fear, here is a Summer meadow filled with the sunshine of flowers for our Summer Solstice celebration.

While I’m sharing my Summer meadow flowers with you, let’s also be thankful for the bees, butterflies, moths, hoverflies and many more pollinating creatures that feed on our wild flowers – and garden flowers – and allow us to enjoy their beauty. Another blogging friend shared in a wonderful post that it has been Pollinator Week this week and she gave some great gardening tips on how we might all do our small bit for our pollinating creatures. You’ll find Woodland Gnome’s post on her Forest Garden Blog.

Happy Summer Solstice 😀

J Peggy Taylor

A woodland wander in search of Wood Avens

There is no better time to enjoy the beauty of our woods than after a spell of Summer rain. The new season’s greenery is washed clean and refreshed. The dark, wet tree trunks contrast strongly with the bright greens of early Summer leaves. The air is laden with the delicious earthy scents of damp woodland, mingled with the fragrance of ‘green’. Did you know you could smell ‘green’? In damp woodlands in June, I am sure you can.

Beechwoods in June after rain
Beechwoods in June after rain

As well as enjoying the woods and their glories generally, on this occasion I was watching out for one particular woodland flower, the Wood Avens Geum urbanum (also known as Herb Bennet). Last week, when I was giving you the answers to my fun plant quiz, I discovered that somehow I did not have any photographs of this very common woodland flower. Hopefully, we would be able to rectify this situation.

Wood Avens growing by woodland path
A bank of Wood Avens growing by a woodland path

Soon after entering the woods, we were spotting Wood Avens growing beside the woodland paths. Their delicate yellow flowers dotted the path-side greenery.

Wood Avens (Herb Bennet)
Wood Avens (Herb Bennet)

Here you can see the Wood Avens plant, nestled in amongst the grasses with its bright yellow flower.

Wood Avens (Herb Bennet) flower
Wood Avens (Herb Bennet) – a closer look at the flower

Here’s a closer look at the Wood Avens flower. The yellow petals are very fragile and look as if they may blow away at any moment.

Wood Avens (Herb Bennet) seedhead
Wood Avens (Herb Bennet) – red hooked seedhead

The Wood Avens flower only lasts a brief time before the red hooked seedhead develops. The seedheads are rather more robust and will stay around across the Summer. The hooks of the ripe seeds would enable them to hitch a ride on a passing animal and so spread the flower seeds further.

Clover leaf raindrop face
Clover leaf raindrop face

Later on our woodland walk, I spotted this little Woodland Spirit resting on a Red Clover leaf. Can you see him too? 🙂

J Peggy Taylor