The Messy Garden – A Photo Essay

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03 Jul The Messy Garden – A Photo Essay

Bee collecting pollen from lavender -- The Messy Baker

The lavender is blooming, the mint is growing like Audrey the Venus flytrap and summer is racing down the street like its sandals are on fire.

Recipes can wait. The garden? It’s more time sensitive and never rests.

After the rain today, I went outside to pick lavender to dry for baking. I ended up chasing bees. Two, or possibly three, plump bees hovered and swooped amidst the purple stalks, veering from bud to bud faster than my shutter could capture. A hundred blurry photos of bees and only a handful of worth saving.

Collage of bees collecting pollen from lavender -- The Messy Baker

They disappeared as quickly as they arrived. Did they go back to the hive or onto my neighbour’s delphiniums?

I stopped to smell the lavender these bees found so enticing. Before I knew it, I was taking photos of raindrops on roses.  I walk past these every day and admire them, but see them en masse — a solid pink cloud hovering above the pathway or a band of pink marauders threatening to tear the clothes from the line. Not until a camera lens slows me down, do I see the beautiful, ephemeral imperfection of my garden.

From a distance the roses look perfect. Up close you can see how the rain has battered them. The one on the bottom left lost the fight, and beyond the frame, the path below them is littered with soggy petals.

Rain-soaked William Baffin roses -- The Messy Baker

The garden is in a constant state of flux. Some roses come into bloom just as its neighbour fades and wilts.

Peach roses, one in fully bloom, one dying. -- The Messy Baker

The spider wort faces the deluge bravely but will close up before nightfall like a child who is brave until he thinks of monsters under the bed.

Purple spider wort covered in rain -- The Messy Baker

The once-small patch of evening primrose has thrown itself across the garden bed with exuberance. Its yellow blooms glow like tiny suns despite the overcast sky.

Evening primrose in bloom - The Messy Baker.

The tattered tips of this modest daisy are easy to overlook, as are the tiny holes where the bugs have nibbled. No wonder it’s hiding behind the overbearing leaves of the hosta.

A tattered daisy -- The Messy Baker

Nothing here is perfect. At least, not for long.  In a day or two, these robust pink roses will dissolve into petals on the pathway. By that time the next round of buds will have opened.

Old-English pink roses in bloom - The Messy Baker

Deeper into the garden, the service berries ripen in stages, ensuring the birds (and squirrels) have a non-stop supply. A free lunch. Until one of them pays the cat that lurks at the tree’s base.

Service berries after the rain - The Messy Baker

The skies split again. As I head indoors, I meet one of the few constants in the ever-changing garden. She never outgrows her place. She never drops anything that needs sweeping or raking or tidying up. She remains at her post. Rain or shine. Summer or winter.

The symbol of beauty, love and prosperity. What better sentry to watch the garden than Venus?

And Venus was her name -- The Messy Baker.






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  • Adrian @ The Food Gays
    Posted at 16:44h, 03 July Reply

    beautiful photos and writing, charmian. thank you for sharing a little piece of your garden with us – it all sounds a bit magical

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 16:51h, 03 July Reply

      Thanks so much! It is magical. I sometimes forget when I’m yanking weeds or fussing over sulking basil.

  • Emily @ Life on Food
    Posted at 06:59h, 04 July Reply

    You know where the saying “stop and smell the roses” comes from. We all need to do it a little more. Beautiful flowers!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 21:24h, 04 July Reply

      Thanks, Emily. I’m trying to stop and smell the roses. And the lavender. And any other fragrant flower within reach.

  • Judith Godfrey
    Posted at 11:38h, 04 July Reply

    This is a beautiful piece of writing Charmian; it drew me in and gave me pause. Beautiful in so many ways. Thanks so much for this as I listen to the raindrops outside and imagine my own blooms marching on as always. And a great reminder that as the garden is constantly in flux, so are we, sometimes perfect, mostly not!

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 21:27h, 04 July Reply

      Thanks so much, Judith. I love the sound of rain. I love that you read this while listening to your own garden. It such a lovely spot. Flux is a good thing, although it can be hard to appreciate at times.

  • Linda
    Posted at 19:08h, 07 July Reply

    My sister -in- law my hubby her camera she never used. It has been so much fun this yr. This yr. has been one of the loveliest yrs. for our flower garden. I have taken pictures of every bloom in my garden. Even the ones with bumble bees on them :) So much fun. I wish I knew how to do a collage with photos.

    Thank you for the pictures

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 14:34h, 08 July Reply

      I know the temptation to take a photo of every bloom! I do this myself. I’m glad I’m not the only one.

      As for the collage, you can do them in almost any photo editor. If you don’t own photo editing software, you can do it online for free using Picmonkey. I’m sure there are other programs out there, but Picmonkey is very user-friendly. Good luck!

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