Thursday, July 14, 2011

Cottage gardens

click photo to enlarge
If I lived in a cottage I'd have a cottage garden. Perhaps that sounds self-evident, but it isn't because a "cottage garden" these days means a particular type of planting and presentation rather than any just any old garden that happens to be attached to a cottage. The other day, as we walked through the village of Castle Rising in Norfolk, we passed the pair of cottages in today's photograph and, impressed by the front gardens, I took this shot.

The planting exemplifies much that I like about the cottage garden. On the right is a golden privet with a few white flowers showing. This shrub often forms an evergreen (actually "ever-yellow") hedge in older gardens but here it was a bush that in summer was offering its vivid colour and in winter would do the same, but give structure and height too. It was poking over a length of stone, brick and tile wall.The remainder of the flowers are typical cottage garden perennials, intermixed to an extent, giving a variety of colours at different heights. There are white-petalled marguerites with their yellow centres hanging over the picket fence, pink mallows, glossy skimmia with its red berries, aquilegia, lillies, orange roses, three kinds of clematis, tall hollyhocks - the quintessential cottage garden flower - and much more. Set against the brick and stone walls, with the white ornate porch, the dormers and the pantiles above, the planting makes for a picture of a typically English rural cottage.

I used the 17-40mm lens at its widest setting for this photograph and had to over come my natural inclination to step back and produce a more architectural image with "correct" verticals.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 17mm
F No: f6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/320
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  -0.67 EV
Image Stabilisation: On