bee aware

I’ve mentioned before KWP, the minister at the church my family attended when I was a little girl and the stories he used to tell. They were simple stories with morals, usually based around small domestic occurrences – like the Green Shield stamp that had lost its stickability and was therefore of little use. (The notion of “stickablity” as a value to be cultivated and encouraged has remained with me all my life.)

Once KWP told of having been in London with a friend who was an ardent nature lover. As they were walking, the friend suddenly stopped; he paused while the rest of the crowds surged past them, then turned and in a moment or two had located a tiny green grasshopper sitting on a kerbstone.
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of pests and petunias

I used to love petunias and geraniums and all the vivid windowbox flowers whose colours brighten up grey days and grey urban spaces. But I fell out of love with petunias when the ones I was growing in pots on the deck in California developed an infestation of caterpillars. I can’t bear to kill creatures of any sort, but nor am I impressed to see my small gardening efforts reduced to the buffet at a bug-feast.

Later, in the early 90s in Spain, my love of geraniums was sorely tried when there was a plague of butterflies – Cacyreus marshalli – in Madrid. Their larvae bored into the stems of many plants around the city and wreaked havoc with the traditional Mediterranean balcony displays of scarlet flowers bursting between wrought iron railings.
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edges and angles

Many of my photographs seem to be images of juxtapositions of spaces: of fences with flowers poking their heads through, of blossoms cascading over garden walls and into alleyways, of plants growing incongruously on manmade vertical surfaces.

In the countryside, there are hedges and ditches, river banks and the green verges of country lanes, all rich with wildlife. In urban spaces, these borderlands are formed by iron railings, razor wire, wooden planks and panels, brick and concrete walls, gutters, kerbs and drains.
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healthy habits

The last week has been Mental Health Awareness Week and I’ve seen a great deal of conversation online about the benefits of nature, with experts explaining how spending time in green spaces, or caring for plants or animals, can have a positive impact on our mental wellbeing.

Many business and life coaches have taken to the parks to hold their sessions in the great outdoors and inspire new healthy habits in their clients. My social media feeds are full of posts urging me to pause and take time out to look at buds on plants and the burgeoning leaves on trees.
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flowers & fences

Yesterday, I ended the blog post with a photograph of rose hips craning their necks to reach between the uprights of a black iron fence. It made me think just how many such photos I have, of flowers and fences.

I don’t actually have many photos of anything on the computer I’m using at the moment – they are mostly copied off onto an external drive- But even among the few that I can access quickly, I have found enough to confirm that, as a general rule, plants appear to want to escape the caged confines that humans impose on them.
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