Sunday, June 19, 2005


Phototherapy, Fred calls it.

To begin with, it was just that my eye happened to be caught by the luminous outline of this backlit Stachys byzantina, a.k.a. lamb’s ears, so-called because of the soft, fine, downy covering to its leaves.

But take a while to look a little closer – just a short while in today’s baking sun, which took the temperatures into the nineties – and detail that gets walked past every day with barely a second glance becomes apparent.

No two flower spikes have quite the same form. Some are conical, some cylindrical, some squat, some are happy to integrate with leaves, others keep themselves apart.

The camera itself is my tutor in this process of deepening study. Zoom in on the detail and a new perspective emerges, with appreciation of a scale that my spectacle-aided eyes have difficulty picking out.

At this scale, the tiny flowers, no more than a few millimetres across, lie in a cotton-wool bed:

The sheer wealth of detail in just one tiny corner of the garden would be enough to distract me for the whole day – nearly has, in fact. But then today is a day for slow, unhurried motion – I hesitate to call it activity, that’s far too hasty a word.

‘tis wond’rous, the variety to behold…

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