Friday, May 18, 2012

Mixed varieties of flowers

click photo to enlarge
Flowers seem intended for the solace of ordinary humanity.
John Ruskin (1819-1900) English art critic, social critic, artist, etc

As a fully paid up member of ordinary humanity I agree with Ruskin's observation. The sight of flowers in full bloom has the ability to lift, if only for a moment or two, the clouds that shroud us, the worries that beset us, and the cares and concerns that are a necessary part of life itself. However, there are those who think that the cultivation of flowers is onerous and will have nothing to do with it. They worry about what to plant, where to plant, how to plant, how to feed, about pests and watering and a multitude of other imagined "difficulties". But, as anyone who has done any gardening will know, the life force in seeds and seedlings is strong, and they will often survive even the most inept of gardeners.

There is another lesson that I have learnt over the years that I want to share today. If you are the sort of gardener who wants to create something beautiful but without the need to acquire specialised knowledge or an inordinate amount of time working the soil, then ignore the latest varieties, the expensive hybrids, and instead make plentiful use of the tried and tested, especially the inexpensive "mixed" varieties of seeds. These are part of every seed merchant's range and give not only excellent value for money but also do the "artistic" bit of gardening for you. The fact is, one of the novice gardener's worries concerns which flowers to plant with which, and whether this colour "goes" with that. The mixed varieties of seeds combine flowers of a range of colours that work well together. So, if you buy mixed rudbeckia you'll get yellows, browns and oranges of various shades that will complement each other beautifully. If you plant mixed cosmos then the variety of reds, yellows and oranges (or pinks, purples and whites) will positively glow in combination. So too will mixed wallflowers, as today's photograph, I hope, shows. Beginners and some experienced gardeners avoid wallflowers because they are biennials - they flower the year after you sow them. Don't let this put you off - the result is worth it.

photograph and text (c) T. Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 300mm
F No: f5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/400
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On