Aquilegia is often known as Columbine or Granny’s Bonnet. I found this pretty, pink cultivar in the Wild Woods at RHS Wisley Gardens yesterday. Simon and I had a busy weekend but just about managed to take an hour’s break to get some fresh air, coffee and cake. The dappled sunlight really glowed on these little flowers, they were quite captivating! Among all the lovely sights at Wisley yesterday, I thought that I would share these beauties for this week’s Fotospeed Challenge. I hope they are an uplifting sight for you all!
Face Your Fear
This rather dark image is my entry for this week’s Wex Mondays challenge. This is Box Hill Fort, set behind the visitor’s centre and cafe at the top of Box Hill. Last Wednesday I went out chasing butterflies again and I was looking for several species on the chalk hillsides of Box Hill. The fort was a rather stark contrast to the delicate little butterflies I was looking for. I was really struck by the graffiti on this wall. It’s not the usual splurge of spray paint or some unreadable moniker! No, this is polite, Surrey graffiti. It’s even been written using the local chalk from around the hillside, which means no lasting damage! And it rhymes; GO TO THE DOOR FAR FROM HERE, HOPEFULLY YOU’LL FACE YOUR FEAR. There’s actually no visitor entry to the fort these days as it’s now home to bats, which are a protected species in the UK. So, if you fear bats and you’re by the far door at dusk, I suppose you may well face your fear! In the bright sunshine all I found was a holly blue butterfly, which was more delightful than awful. I’m still not certain why the writer thinks that readers would be hopeful of facing their fear. I find it intriguing and perhaps that makes it art. What do you think?
The Old Fort is one of 13 mobilisation centres (known collectively as the London Defence Positions) built in the 1890s to protect London from invasion from continental Europe. The six acre site of the fort was originally purchased by the Ministry of Defence in 1891, and construction began in 1896. Box Hill fort was laid out in the form of an infantry redoubt, typical of the period, but also included magazines for the storage of artillery ammunition. Box Hill fort was designed for the use of the infantry only and the stored ammunition was intended for the use of mobile field artillery, which would be deployed nearby as required. A reform of defence policy by the Secretary of War, Viscount Haldane, in 1905 resulted in all 13 centres being declared redundant, and Box Hill Fort was sold back to the estate trustees in 1908.
Blue Monday: Opening Up
I couldn’t resist creating this composite from the images I captured of a female Holly Blue butterfly, opening up her wings in the warm sunshine! The rich, golden stone of The Cotswolds really set off the intense colour of the upperside wings. I am including a gallery of the individual images and a haiku based poem inspired by the joy of finding a blue with her wings open!
Little holly blue
My eyes long to view those bright
Sky-hued upper wings
My heart sings with joy
When the sunny skies bring out
Your very best side
A sapphire jewel
Sat upon the Cotswold wall
A golden setting
I spent a lovely afternoon at RHS Wisley Gardens yesterday, wandering through the pinetum and woodland areas, chasing butterflies. The woods in the pinetum are full of native bluebells. Their importance as a food source for butterflies and other insects was so evident in the number that we spotted! I found six different butterfly species in and around one small area of bluebells. Brimstone butterflies were by far the most numerous! They delighted us all with a dance of love, as the more vibrant males competed for the attention of the paler females. Pure magic! My featured image, of the male and female dancing together, is my entry for this week’s Fotospeed challenge. I’m including a gallery of all six butterfly species below; comma, large white, brimstone, green-veined white, peacock and speckled wood.
Blue Monday: Enchanted Pathway
A magical sight waited for us in the woodland yesterday, where a group of us gathered to celebrate a good friend’s birthday. I followed the track dividing the woodland plots and discovered that the bluebells were taking over the rutted track, once used by man and machine, now given back to nature. I’ve added this sighting to The Woodland Trust‘s online survey of bluebell woods, helping to build a national picture of the locations of our native bluebells. Sightings of hybrid and Spanish Bluebells can also be added to the Big Bluebell Watch, to help with conservation management. This is also my entry for the Fotospeed challenge this week. I expect bluebells will be featuring heavily again this week on their twitter feed and I just hope that everyone can feel the magic in my capture.