New gear resolution

I’d like to start by wishing all of you who have found your way to this blog:

Happy New Year!

Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!

Bonne Année!

Bona annada plan granada!

Many thanks to everyone for your interest and comments since I started last year, and welcome to anyone visiting here for the first time. It’s New Year’s Day, you haven’t got time to read, and nor have I to write much. This is a short post to share some images of flowers taken over the last few days, to show there is life out there in the middle of winter – helped by a recent mild spell with some sunny days when the temperature reached 16 degrees. And of course I’m also showing off my new camera and lens – the title isn’t a typo.

Iris unguicularis

Iris unguicularis

The Algerian Iris (I. unguicularis) – originally from North Africa but grown widely in gardens, and the first Iris to flower. This was in some waste ground next to an electricity substation – it was probably planted there, and has spread and settled. It’s a very low-growing species, and my flower book says the ovary is at or below ground level – amazing, I’ll have to look closer next time.

Geranium rotundifolium

Geranium rotundifolium

I think this is the round-leafed crane’s bill – all the little geraniums look very similar to me.  If I keep at this, I hope I’ll get better at telling them apart.



Yes, but which Euphorbia? I’m planning a longer post soon on the great variety of species of spurge round here, because I find them bizarrely fascinating. And I love their shades of green and yellow.  The little yellow star-shapes are nectar glands, and the buds are separate male flowers – the female flower usually grows in the middle of the glands. Found by the side of the road – Chaiselongue said to me, ‘You know, all the people who pass in cars are looking at you strangely – they think there’s only one thing you can be doing crouched down in a ditch.’

Viola alba subsp. dehnadii

Viola alba subsp. dehnadii

The first violet I’ve seen, on the path just by our garden – had to lie flat on the ground to take this. The Latin name is a bit confusing, but there is a white subspecies too (scotophylla) , found in the Balkans.

Resolutions: To work on a comparison of the various spurges, as I’ve said. And other topics I’ve got in mind include something about the social life of plants (yes, really), more on the beach bums of the plant world who survive on the sand dunes, the wonderful plants of the garrigue, a botanic garden mystery ( a Kewdunnit) – and much more. Hope to see you again many more times in 2013.

And there will be more Brazilian music too. Here’s the genius Baden Powell showing how to play with a lit cigarette:




Filed under Euphorbia, Geranium, Iris, Viola

9 responses to “New gear resolution

  1. All of us who are photographers know that there are many shots we can only attain while crouched down in a ditch or lying flat-out on a road (preferably a road with very little traffic). But I had no idea until now that it was possible to play a guitar with genius while also smoking a cigarette. A very happy new year to you. Please see my comment on Cl’s blog for my wish for the two of you.

    • Thanks for your good wishes here and on CL’s blog – I can only echo some words from Sgt. Pepper’s, which we were listening to the other night: ‘You’re such a lovely audience, we’d like to take you home with us, we’d like to take you home’. You’ve been a responsive and positive audience for this new blog venture of mine and I’ve enjoyed all your comments. May you continue to take great photographs, to be fit enough for any contortions required to take them, and may there be very little traffic. Looking forward to your company in 2013.

  2. What beautiful photography and such a nice gift to receive on the first day of the New Year. Thank you and Happy New Year.

    • I’m glad you liked the photos – I’ve got a lot to learn with all the twiddly bits, but it’s fun. A very happy new year to you too – may you find what you want in the market as often as I find what I’m looking for in a ditch!

  3. Love the photos, especially of Euphorbia. Look forward to learning more about it.

  4. bonnie poppe

    Spurges, I love spurges. The euphorbiaciae I believe have over 5000 members. Including the poinsettia, of which I have two in my house right now. And many other euphorbs which have come up in the garden. Their sticky white sap is always a giveaway. My iris are blooming also, but they are the naturalized garden variety. I have the geraniums also, but have not noted any blooms yet. My practice with “things” that sprout is to see what they are, and then decide if they are to be pulled up or nurtured. Seems to work. Happy new year and thanks for this blog!
    bonnie in roquebrun

    • So many spurges – and all so alike to the untrained eye! Rather like the dandelion brothers and cousins i.e. yellow composites – I’ve got to get stuck in to identifying all those unlabelled photos. I’ve seen a few cultivated Iris out – yours must be very early varieties – but then where you live is known for its microclimate.

      • Yes, it is a microclimate, and my property is sort of its own microclimate as it faces full south and is very sheltered on the north and east by walls and hills, I’m right below the mediterranean garden and the Tour de Guet. My iris are whatever was here when I arrived, some sort of naturalized ones that survived a lot of neglect for years. I’ve divided them and moved them around, as I love their look against the stone walls. I also picked a narcissus today! Also a survivor from the past. I pulled a few weeds today and noted that I have a lot of the “weeds” I like, the euphorbias and those pink snapdragon cousins. I’ve been scattering seed from the natives around, and am getting some nice things coming up. Also a lot of the little true geraniums.

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