One thing I love about photographing plants is that there is just such a profusion of possibility to explore and play with. With the seasons passing, the plants and their textures evolve so much. There are new buds appearing and fresh shiny leaves, perhaps flowers, rough bark, apparent roots, unusual seeds and pods, rugged surfaces, uncanny spikes, odd stems, gorgeous color combinations as the light evolves and changes the aspect of the backdrop…
I am astounded that even without wandering far there is always more beauty and unusual details to be found, an infinite amount of inspiration. Look at these star-shaped pods that I came across in the Amsterdam Hortus a few weeks ago, aren’t they delightful?!
Yesterday I had planned to spend some time for my Artist Date at the Botanic garden exploring the greenhouses, looking for new plants I could photograph to accompany upcoming blog posts. On arrival I found the gates of the garden were closed (I hadn’t checked the opening times – rookie mistake!). However I took this setback in my stride and instead cycled around looking for a place out of the wind where I could soak up the sun and write in my journal.
I settled for a bench in a tiny playground just two minutes from my flat, which is mostly sandy with a few plants scattered around the edge. At first glance most plants seemed to have suffered from the winter months and looked rather bland. I didn’t expect much, but then a pink flower close to the ground caught my attention, so I got out my camera and started taking photos of it. Then my eyes searched a bit further for interesting colours, textures and backgrounds, and as I observed the details of each plant, I was led from one to another and kept noticing more and more things.
Here are a few of the finds that I liked most: The lace-like structure of a perfectly shaped Physalis pod with a rough black seed nestled inside it, and a rose hip with tiny lines etched onto its bright red surface… I was also very excited to stumble upon several types of ladybirds, the first I’ve seen this season, mentally thanking them for the natural pest control they perform with their unending appetite for aphids that we would rather do without. Even if it wasn’t the Botanic garden, I was impressed by the many details to be found in such a small space when taking the time to really look.
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #116
This week I’d simply like to share my immense gratitude for cheerful plants. Plants that are so jubilant that they are throwing their arms into the air in a gesture of sheer joy and fun. Hooray!!! Seeing these photos brings a smile to my face everytime:) Wishing you a wonderful weekend that leaves you feeling this delighted:)
Also, reminds me of the mini-succulent party I came across at the botanical garden in 2017:) They too were having a blast!
Danielle’s aloe vera plant is growing beautifully in its new pot, an upcycled olive oil container. This looks like the perfect cosy corner to read a book or listen to a podcast on a cold winter Sunday! Thanks Danielle for the lovely photo:)
Someone did a great job of creating a bushy green jungle to look at from their basement flat!
Yellow is a colour that lifts my heart up. I painted one of my kitchen walls bright yellow wall to brighten up the long Dutch winter evenings by reminding me of the sun.
Lately I’m really enjoying how yellow flowers are popping up all over the place in gardens and along the streets of Amsterdam.
On a recent walk in the Kennemerduinen, the pastel landscape was peppered with splashes of yellow, gorgeous gatherings of tiny flowers asking for their beauty to be seen.
Also the bees and the caterpillars were also showing off how colour coordinated they were with their beautiful surroundings:)
During my recent visit to the Botanic garden in Amsterdam Zuid, I was excited to see lots of plants that reminded me of those years of my childhood that I spent in Australia. I would not be able to tell you their names but they looked so familiar, like coming home. It’s funny how as a child you take in so many details without realising.
As I write this, I wonder how at the botanic garden they manage to get these plants that are so specific to the Australian ecosystems to grow in the Dutch environment. And whether the plants have adapted to bloom in our season or are still aligned with that of the southern hemisphere.
As always, I’m fascinated by the details. This tiny pod looks like it is made of metal. Such perfection!
And of course the collection wouldn’t be complete without some lovely bright wattle, Australia’s national flower!
JOYFUL GRATITUDE #74
Nothing like a quiet Friday afternoon in the Botanic Garden to slow down and bring my attention fully back to the present moment. I am grateful that my dear friend Eva joined me today (we have a history of visiting other botanic gardens together, spending hours exploring the Hortus which is just around the corner of her house in Leiden and also on a trip to Glasgow:).
We had a great time in the warm green-houses, observing the succulents, cacti and other plants, pointing out to each other many amazing details from the wide collection and getting inspired by the colours and patterns.
When was the last time you really looked closely at what is around you? Most of the time I am completely on auto-pilot, rushing to and from work, completely stuck in my head thinking about all the things I need to do or annoyed at the rain pouring down…
On Saturday morning, I took the opportunity of a ray of sunshine to go for a walk in the neighbourhood and consciously really looked at buildings, bikes, dogs, plants as I passed them. I started to notice tiny details. As autumn comes to an end, some plants are valiantly holding on to their last threads of life.
I was so happy to observe the plants on my way and focus on the beauty in their imperfections: slightly bruised and fading petals, leaves drying into brilliant reds, gorgeous lace-like patterns… It is the perfect trick for getting out of my whirling thoughts and truly being in the moment:)