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On An Island

Claremont Island

On An Island

Such a beautiful scene, the last glorious tones of Autumn, really needed a stitched panorama to get in all the details! This is Claremont Landscape Gardens, managed by the National Trust, near Esher and Cobham. A wonderful place to explore, relax, have a cuppa and feed the birds (please bring proper bird seed or duck/swan pellets that are available at most garden centres).

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ShareMondays2018 – Art Inspires Art

His Mind's Eye

ShareMondays2018 – Art Inspires Art

I’ve been in Stratford-upon-Avon this past weekend, meeting up with my dear friend Rachel. On Sunday the weather cleared enough for us to enjoy a visit to Shakespeare’s New Place, Museum and Gardens. I had been very excited about seeing these gardens as they are a work of art. Inspired by the works of Shakespeare, the gardens were created by a collective of artists, landscapers, theatre-makers and volunteers. The words of Shakespeare are inscribed within this landscape on pendants, sculptures, benches and on the paving stones.

Meandering through the gardens was truly inspiring! It’s also fully accessible for wheelchair users, which I hope can inspire other UK visitor attractions! This stunning centrepiece is a circle of twenty-six hornbeams (one for every play written at New Place) that encircles the sculpture His Mind’s Eye by Jill Berelwitz. The bent bronze tree could surely have braved The Tempest and expresses Shakespeare’s creativity, the sheer force of his genius. From this angle it seemed to me to be like looking at a giant eye. Perhaps the eye of the storm?

Shakespeare was at his most creative during the nineteen years that New Place was the family home. That creativity lives on in the gardens now. Even more inspirational is that work only began here two years ago, for the four-hundredth anniversary of Shakespeare’s passing. Beyond the yew walk, the Great Gardens are surrounded by the most extraordinary sculptures by Greg Wyatt, each one depicting a Shakespeare play. I think I will find something new in each of them every time I visit. It was tempting to re-ennact a scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream as Rachel and I enjoyed the Wild Bank at the end of the garden. We both performed the play at sixth form college, I was typecast as the short but feisty Hermia and Rachel was a woodland fairy. Many happy memories were relived during our visit and I know we’ll be back!

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Blue Monday: A Warm Welcome

Cottage Garden at RHS Wisley Gardens

Blue Monday: A Warm Welcome

It took time and patience, with all the visitors to RHS Wisley Gardens yesterday, to get the four images I needed to create this stitched panorama of The Cottage Garden. This is my favourite time of year in these gardens, which are almost overflowing with soft grasses and flowers. It’s a haven for bees, butterflies, birds and visitors alike. I love the view as you enter through the arches, looking across the water feature and through to the rose garden on the other side. It’s such a warm and welcoming design! The blue skies and a brief return to warmer, summer weather completed this quintessentially English country-garden scene. I’m posting this for the Wex Mondays and Fotospeed challenges this week as well as Blue Monday. I hope it brings you all a bit of sunshine wherever you are in the world!

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RHS Photographic Competition Winner 2014

Seasons: Winter at Wisley

RHS Photographic Competition Winner 2014

On Friday morning I received an incredibly exciting email. My photograph Winter at Wisley had been awarded 1st place in the Seasons Category of the RHS Photographic Competition 2014! I’ve had to keep the news secret until the awards were made public today. It’s not been easy! If I hadn’t almost lost my voice to a seasonal bug, I’d be shouting it from the rooftops. I owe a great deal of thanks to all my followers here on WordPress, not just for the encouragement you all gave me when picking my selections for the competition, but also for the support that you’ve given me since I started blogging almost two years ago. The photographic community we share is inspiring and I’ve learnt so much from you all!

The Rock Garden

In fact I started this blog only three weeks before this image was taken! The snows of early 2013 may gone, but they’re certainly not forgotten and, for me, they never will be. It was also during those winter snows that I captured a photograph called Round Robin, that is featured as the December image for the RHS Photographic Competition Calendar 2015. Last Winter was a disappointing one weather wise, for many across the UK is was more than that, it was devastating. Although my fiancé, Simon, hates the cold I really hope that it’s snow instead of the incessant winds and rain from a year ago that will come our way over the next few months! I know exactly where I’ll be when the snows come 😉

It was great to get feedback from the judges that indicated that I really do achieve my goals of trying to capture the magic of a moment, letting viewers see the world from my own perspective. This is what they said:

“RHS Garden Wisley is a popular subject for many garden photographers, but few are able to capture that balance between a wintry morning, a layering of snow and the warming tones of sunlight – all at the same time. This image brings all these elements together and more – the iced water, the movement from the fountain, the shape of the planting, and the beautiful interest of the Laboratory itself, combine to make a beautiful photograph. Like all good images, the viewer can imagine actually standing there looking out over the water, and feel the chill of the cold”

Well it’s most definitely not been a Blue Monday for me but I will share this with Sally’s weekly challenge for the beautiful blue tones in the skies and reflected in the snow! I’ve added a few extra photos to the post to show you some reworked (in Nik Colour Efex Pro) seasonal images from the Winter at Wisley and Round Robin photo shoots. I’ve also linked to this week’s WPC: Gone But Not Forgotten for the White Christmas we haven’t had for years but I’m hoping will come again!

The Glasshouse