These photographs of the glorious foliage of a Staghorn sumac tree were taken in the garden belonging to my late grandmother at some point in the mid-2000s – can’t remember when exactly, though I remember actually taking the pictures themselves; walking down the flight of enclosed concrete steps that led down from Grandma’s first floor flat and out into the garden at the back, where this tree opened out from a small central bed like a festive umbrella.
Really not sure from when or where these photographs date, but likely from mid-2000 or thereabouts. Who doesn’t love physalis, with those perfect paper lanterns and pop of orange. I was obviously drawn to taking these images on a day when the sun was lighting them very pleasingly.
This photograph was taken just minutes before we opened our garden to the public as part of last year’s National Garden Scheme shindig; the view here is of our little patch of seating space outside the kitchen, not usually as packed out with plants as this, but not far off.
I can’t tell you exactly when this photograph was taken – a close-up of one of the hundreds of flowers comprising the impressive orange tower of a fox-tail lily – but I can tell you where it was taken: a flower border in the front garden of a rural post office in Lincolnshire. It was taken on an old 35mm camera, and the negative scanned digitally a few years later.
A final set of studies produced in response to The Kick-About No.42 – more Clematis tangutica seed heads entombed in a hemisphere of ice, but producing some pleasingly painterly impressions and lots and lots of swirl.
The seed heads of Clematis tangutica ‘My Angel’ are extraordinary silvered whirligigs. The plant itself is a bit of a thug, quite at odds with its name, scrambling greedily for many metres in our small garden. Right now, from our bathroom window, I can see the seed heads sitting across the fence like a thick fall of snow. I thought they’d make perfectly aquatic-like specimens for the deep freeze treatment, so I picked a few handfuls and popped them in the freezer overnight. The resulting winteryness of some of the resulting photographs, snapped in response to The Kick-About No.42, probably shouldn’t have come as a surprise (given all the ice!), but in some there is the feel of blizzards and powdered snow; in others, there are shoals of silvery sea-creatures.
There is a rambling rose in our garden, which produces untidy confetti-style blooms in a tremendous deep pink with golden centres. It’s still flowering even now, though surely not for much longer. As part of my Kick-About 42 experiments, I wondered what I’d get if I plunged a whole bunch of these scruffy roses into a bowl of water and froze it, and the resulting ice-block made for a delicate, very beautiful subject for my camera. This was the moment when some really interesting transformations began, where the imperfect character of the ice produced some surprisingly immersive vistas, and the roses themselves, pale and encased, were just so old-fashioned and decorative.