Mostly Acquilegias

Mr Two Flowers

It’s June! I think I feel a flowery post coming on. There may be many flowery posts, we will see what happens.  At the moment the acquilegias are all blooming and despite the fact that I know that originally we only had red and black Barlow double acquilegias in the garden…

Black acquillgia

… we are getting all sorts of variations and random loveliness and in my fantasies one day we will have rainbow ones…

red acquilegia

The one that stopped me in my tracks was the first photo on the post which I have been looking at because it has two different shaped flowers of different shades on the same stem. Maybe this is a common enough event, but every year new acquilegias come up and it is a never ending surprise to see what the criss-crossing of pollen produces.

Pinky ones!

Last autumn we pulled up the cardoons that have dominated the small fish shaped flower bed near where we sit.

A poppy for Ardys

The plants were seven years old and had rotted and split and were looking very straggly. Without them dominating the bed, which wasn’t very big, we get to see the poppies having fun, the big frilly red one and the orange one and a whole host of yellow and orange visitors, all set off by the black acqueligia which have always been hidden from view under the huge cardoons.

Blue acquilegia

I love the surprise flowers and as Brian is not so good at remembering to buy flowers for (the house, well me actually)  today he went out and took me photos instead. OK that’s not strictly true,  I begged, some would say demanded,  I have no shame. And I don’t know why he has that big camera if not for taking fuzzy background closeups of flowers for so I can decorate the blog with them. I am sure you agree?

Rosebud for Zeb Bakes

Brian came back with a clutch of images, none of them showed that the two flowers (first photo) were on the same stem, so I sent him back again. He suggested I borrowed his camera but it is too heavy and I can’t use it. Excuses, excuses.  But look here are all the flowers I got today, complete with fuzzy backgrounds. Nice eh? He brought me a rosebud too.

Visiting PoppyI am also trying out a batch resize programme to see if they will stay sharper on transit to the blog. I seem to lose sharpness by the time they get to you. What do you reckon? Or does anyone have any secret tips on making photos look good on the blog? I think these look sharper than usual, but I am going cross-eyed staring at them, so lets just publish and be damned.

PS Zeb is howling for his tea, I messed up the first time I resized so I had to chop them all out of the post and redo it, so if it is even more incoherent than usual, blame technology and my impatience. Life is short. xx

All photos copyright Brian Kent 2013 (aka Mr Zeb Bakes) 

40 thoughts on “Mostly Acquilegias

  1. timethief

    These images are so beautiful. It’s too early for Columbine to bloom yet. Neither the wild nor the domestic varieties have surpassed the budding stage but that time will come. Then the bees and hummingbirds will be happy.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Our daytime temperature is hitting about 18 – 20 C this week and our nights are still cool at about 8 C. I suspect you are further north than me and have all that to look forward to :) And you get hummingbirds – we don’t get them at all !

  2. heidiannie

    Love your photos ! My husband took some pictures of the trilliums that were in bloom whilst I was under the weather and I thought it was more loving than a bouquet of flowers.
    I used to have a plethora of Columbines but they have disappeared over the years ( I stick with Columbines because I prefer doves to eagles -aquilegias) Yours are beautiful- in all their different varieties. Thanks for sharing, Joanna- your flowers brought some happy to my day!

    1. Joanna Post author

      I wish Heidi that I had used the word Columbine instead now, because I realised (not only had I messed up the photo sizing thingy, but I had misspelled it all the way through and had to change it all, so doves are definitely easier on the nerves!) I was just reading something that said to deadhead them and not let them go to seed and then the plants would be more likely to come back each year. I always thought they were a bit like biennuals, and have been trying to find out more. Frank is a treasure to take you photos and bring them to you.I think some people like buying flowers and others don’t have the habit but they make up for that in other ways which show their love. I am delighted you enjoyed these xx

    1. Joanna Post author

      I am encouraging B to read the comments on the blog this morning. He has a big smile on his face, thank you so much Celi :)

  3. Debra Kolkka

    I love columbines!!! I saw them for the first time a couple of months ago and I have planted them at Vergemoli. I hope they do as well as yours.

    1. Joanna Post author

      There are so many different sorts Debra, I was looking last night at a grower, little tiny alpine ones, so many colours and shapes of flowers, I felt like I had strayed into a very expensive chocolate shop of columbines, I hope yours do well, give them a couple of years to show you what they can do :)

  4. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

    These are the prettiest photos ever! I love that your red and black plants produced such a rainbow of colours, and I especially love the purple one! We have the same thing happen with our bed of nasturtiums – I never know where all the colour blends come from, but it’s a glorious surprise every year when they flower!

    Re the blog – I find that I need to resize photos to the maximum size allowed by the theme you’re using – in my case it’s 500 wide (I think yours would be much larger, but you should be able to see what is in the upload box). If I simply upload larger photos, WP shrinks it down for me, and to my eyes, they’re never as crisp as they are when I’ve done the resizing myself.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thank you! So kind of you, I love nasturtiums as well, I usually get a few pop up but I haven’t planted any for a while now. Do you eat them or do you leave them for the chooks?

      Re the blog – that is really good to hear, because your photos always look spot on for sharpness. I realised that for some reason my photo settings on the blog for ‘large’ were smaller than the largest width allowed. Not sure why that happened/ So now I have set the large size to the main column width for the 2012 theme which is 625 (with a sidebar) and used the same width in the resize programme. The pictures are quite big but I think sharper. Before I was using Apple’s Mail which auto resizes and I think that sometimes I got lucky and sometimes not. I will try doing the same with the medium sized ones too. I am not very good at pixels :)

  5. ardysez

    All stunning shots. Love poppies, such a happy flower, and the blue/purple Columbine is a colour one seldom sees. Beautiful. Thank Brian for us, and give yourself a pat as well! X

    1. Joanna Post author

      I will thank him for you Ardys – Glad you liked the poppies I added them in just for you xx

  6. narf77

    I LOVE acquilegias and didn’t realise just how tough they were till one decided to take root in the tiny bit of dirt between the brick wall and the paving stones right next to our back door… as the VERY first place that Earl comes to when he walks out the door you can only imagine the hell that is this axquilegias life BUT it is still growing…in that tiny bit of wall/paving space that amounts to about 2mm with a regular injection of what has killed MANY a tougher plant. Plant acquilegias folks…and azaleas…they will grow no matter WHAT you do to them :)

    1. Joanna Post author

      You are right! They are tough once they decide where they want to live. We have a couple of those; one is down the side where the sun never shines by the bin and another by the garage.

      acq by the bins

      As long as you have a coolish spring I think they do OK. Not sure if they grow in very hot places? And the snails leave them alone, just occaionally you get greenfly all over them, but we haven’t had much of that (yet) because the Spring was so late and cold. I have no azaleas in this garden, but we go and see them in the big public gardens and parks :)

  7. hotlyspiced

    I think your flower images are stunning. No complaints from this part of the world. And I don’t think there is anywhere quite as pretty as England in the summertime. I was sitting at my son’s school a few days ago and happened to be with three British ex-pats. They were all talking about how much they’d love to be going home for the summer and how they miss the beautiful gardens with all the flowers and the greenness and the long hours of daylight and playing night tennis etc, etc. They almost had each other in tears xx

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thank you, Charlie! I will have to fan Brian”s face. I keep telling him he should have a photo blog, but he just likes to take pictures and look at them and think about how to take the next one.

      It is one of the curious things about these blogs that we march into our seasons opposite each other in this visible way. Your Christmas barbecues on the beach are the ones I am always most jealous of as we sit with short grey days where the sun appears low in the sky and we do nothing but shop and eat and rush around in traffic jams. But they should race home for the summer because it is looking beautiful right now, lush and green and bursting with flowers.

      When I went to bed last night I could still see a glimmer of orange and red on the horizon and it was gone 11 pm.

  8. Ann

    Lovely photos as usual Brian! But I was sorry that Zeb’s tea was late.
    Funny you should say that you envy our Christmas beach weather – after 43 years it still doesn’t really feel like Christmas here – I need frost and dark evenings with all the lights in the shops etc. You can keep Jan and Feb though!

    1. Joanna Post author

      There is much snorting and humphing when tea is late. And then he does the poodle spin of triumph when he realises we have remembered :) I will share all your lovely comments with Brian xx

  9. chasingstarryskies

    Lovely – sounds like you are a bit like me. I’ve been hopping around like a new born lamb for the past two weeks as I’ve been waiting not so very patiently for all my aquilegia to open. Most of them I grew two years ago from seed and I haven’t seen the flowers yet. I know what they should turn out to be but I want to see them with my own eyes and think wow did I grow that! I’ve been just the same with my oriental poppies as I’m looking for another colour other than red. Aquilegias are a tough plant – my gran’s back garden is overflowing with them and they seem to have found super homes in between paving slabs and right by brick walls!

    1. Joanna Post author

      Hello! Thanks for visiting and the waiting is very new lambish isn’t it ? I quite agree. I also forget what might come up, so I get very surprised sometimes.

      I have got a big poppy at the back of the garden called Patty’s Plum which is a huge purply one like this would that be the sort of poppy you are looking for? They are quite variable, so best to get as a flowering plant if you can, once established they come up year in and year out and slowly get bigger.

      1. chasingstarryskies

        Yes and also more peachy colours. I think I’ve got a more pinky colour coming but I need to resist turning heads up as I accidently broke one last week doing this and it is now sitting in a small vase!

  10. drfugawe

    Acquilegias! I’m in love – and I love the idea of a flower that changes character every year – how wonderful! And if they grow in cool, moist, shady areas, then I must get some for our yard. Thanks for the introduction – and here’s wishing you a happy June (I know you’ve been waiting a long time!)

    1. Joanna Post author

      They are great fun to grow, you probably call them Columbines? On a completely unrelated note, your comment is the 10,000th comment on the blog since I started it. I have been watching the number creep up today and you are the one! We still have chilly nights but that suits me fine.

  11. Misky

    I was impressed by the photos. I turned my laptop around so Peder could see these, and he said they were ‘quite splendid’. And this coming from a man of few words. High praise indeed.

    Andy and the boys just took out my columbine. At least I saved my bleeding hearts.

    1. Joanna Post author

      aww thankyou and Peder too! So looking forward to seeing what happens next in your garden ! xx

  12. cityhippyfarmgirl

    Beautiful flowers. They look like something that Ida Rentoul Outhwaite would have written poems of. (If you don’t know her, google some of flower images.)

    Re the blog…We are using a similar template. I know my landscape positioned pictures are never as crisp at the portrait ones. You (as the reader) have to individually click on to the image for it to ‘crisp up’. (and I do like a fuzzy backgrounded photo, I try and stick the word ‘bokeh’ in where ever I can ;-)

    1. Joanna Post author

      I don’t know her but I will look her up, thankyou Brydie. I am not very cued up on the tech side of photography but. will have a read, bokeh.. I am on the trail xx

  13. Karin Anderson

    Beautiful photos! My columbines just start to bloom, and like yours always show amazing colors. And do love to come up between the patio stones (probably because I mulched the beds to diligently). Most of them are in my garden because of my mother’s foraging habits: during her walks, she picks the pods of colors and shapes she likes.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Your mother sounds wonderful Karin :) I must admit I was looking at wild columbines where I walk the dog and thinking I must remember to go look when they go to seed and maybe harvest some seed too. I have been looking at them with greater attention since this post and observing how their colours look different depending on where the sun is in the sky and as they mature. Some of them are so tall that the wind has toppled them. Just read your latest post about Cold War Bread – what a great read!

  14. Sincerely, Emily

    Beautiful blooms! Love all the colors. Great Pictures Brian!
    Joanna – I wouldn’t keep Zeb waiting too long for his tea! HA
    i planted 2 cardoons 2 years ago and they are frightfully small. The deer love to munch on them, so they haven’t stood much of a chance. I had hoped they would get really BIG, but since the deer are still hopping the fence to graze, that isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thanks Emily! Sorry to hear about the cardoons, they usually get really big really quickly, naughty deer, tsk tsk. Mine got to be about seven or eight foot though I had to keep taking the leaves off. I loved the big flower heads and so did the bees. I tried once or twice to do things with the stems, but I think you need to wrap the plants up so they stay sweet. I am not good at covering plants and things like that.

  15. maree

    So pretty. Brians photos are wonderful… beautiful clear colours.
    I love your blog. I live in New Zealand and it is great to know that there are others around the world with similar thoughts and feelings, that experience the simple but profound pleasure of baking. Ohhh talk about warm fuzzies!!!

    1. Joanna Post author

      Nice to meet you Maree and thank you for your kind comment. We have just had a rare weekend away in the far west of Wales and last night I came home and fed my starters and kefir, watered seedlings and thought that I must bake this week. Warm fuzzies is a very good description of how one feels when sitting waiting for the bread to bake as that wonderful smell and warmth fills the house. I still smile at the bread when it comes out of the oven. Take care! Joanna

  16. maree

    Its great to be able to talk to you Joanne. There is something about bread that gives me a buzz. Im not sure exactly what it is but I enjoy the whole process of baking bread and when I see the the final product I experiance a deep sense of satisfaction. I am about to complete a year long baking and patisserie course and over this period have baked a number of different styles of breads. All were fun to make but my favourites were Stollen, Gugelhopf, Ciabatta and of course Sourdough.

    1. Joanna Post author

      It must be great to do a course like that. There is so much one can learn and it is a rewarding process. If I were younger I would love to have done something like you are doing. I buy lots of books and chat a bit on Twitter about bread and baking sometimes too. My twitter name is – at Zeb underline Bakes –

  17. maree

    Joanne, if you want to do it go for it. Im the Granny in my class…..four grandchildren to date with another due in September. Life is for living and for me that means learning and building on experiences. I have just got home after spending the day working on my showpiece for my final assesment… its a mix of pastillage and sugar casting…basically my take on the Willow Pattern. My theme is “Vintage Love”.
    Take care

    1. Joanna Post author

      Your showpiece sounds amazing! Sugarwork is one of those things I admire but don’t have the patience or the dexterity to do with any happiness. Bread is far simpler and suits my temperament. I am a lazy old thing at heart. No one believes me when they read the blog I guess, but I am. xx

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thank you for the compliments. I am not a particularly good photographer but I could write a ‘things I think about vaguely when I take photographs of bread?’ That is about the only thing I have taken loads of photos of? That and the dog, who is pretty hopeless at standing still with his face towards the camera, it is usually down and sniffing something… :)

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