Club Tropicana

Let me take you to the place
Where membership’s a smiling face
Brush shoulders with the stars
Where strangers take you by the hand
And welcome you to wonderland
From beneath their panamas

Dahlia ‘Totally Tangerine’

Club Tropicana, drinks are free
Fun and sunshine, there’s enough for everyone
All that’s missing is the sea
But don’t worry, you can suntan!

Dahlia ‘Totally Tangerine’

Castaways and Lovers meet
Then kiss in Tropicana’s heat
Watch the waves break on the bay
Soft white sands, a blue lagoon
Cocktail time, a summer’s tune
A whole night’s holiday!

Nicotiana ‘Sensation’

Club Tropicana, drinks are free
Fun and sunshine, there’s enough for everyone
All that’s missing is the sea
But don’t worry, you can suntan!

Nicotiana ‘Sensation’

I am so enjoying my cutting patch!  (That’s not Wham! anymore, this is me now).

Cosmos ‘Xanthos’ with Dahlia ‘Totally Tangerine’ behind.

I’m really enjoying the distinct patches of colour, like swathes of fabric.

Dahlia ‘Vino’ (left) and ‘Totally Tangerine’ (right).

Though the sea of Borage is no more.  The tidal wave broke.  I thought I would just tidy it up a bit when it was falling onto the Cosmos, and before I knew it, I had cut the whole lot down.

Dahlia ‘Totally Tangerine’ with Cosmos ‘Xanthos’ and Borage behind.

Then I had to thin the Nicotiana too, which was good, because I got rid of the hospital-pink Nicotiana.  Now I have iced lilac:

Nicotiana ‘Sensation’ with Dahlias ‘Vino’ and ‘Totally Tangerine’ behind.

And luscious blackcurrant sorbet:

Nicotiana ‘Sensation’

Which echoes Dahlia ‘Vino’ in the bed behind.

Dahlia ‘Vino’

An unexpected pleasure are the beetley-bugs I keep finding.  This one, with the mirrored hearts on her back:


And a cape, shaped like a shell.


The snapdragons have only just come out.  Their faces look like grumpy turtles.

Antirrhinum ‘Rust Resistant Mixed’

I am seeing lots of bumble bees visiting. Here’s one knocking at the door.


No one’s home, so in he goes.


And he’s in.  He spent quite a lot of time in there.


And then he wiggles and wriggles, and out he comes.  He’s off.


Here are the zinnias from Moon Landings.

Zinnia ‘Cupid Mixed’

But now I have trumped my previous Minibeasts photo attempts.  I was just admiring the delicious Dahlia ‘Walzing Matilda’.  I was trying to capture its wonderful watermelony tones.

Dahlia ‘Waltzing Matilda’

There are beautiful striations along the petals, with a contrast between the front and reverse.  Whilst we’re here, just admire the craftmanship of this calyx.  Not only is it beautifully beaten and shaped, it also has a weathered patina of bronze and copper.

Dahlia ‘Waltzing Matilda’

Is flower-lust another form of greed?  This dahlia combines watermelon and mango.  It also reminds me of shot-silk.

Dahlia ‘Waltzing Matilda’

I was just musing upon the growing pistils at the centre of the flower, when a visitor popped by.

Dahlia ‘Waltzing Matilda’

So I got closer.

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Dahlia ‘Waltzing Matilda’ and hoverfly.

Closer…  Look at his goggles, like liquid!  And his bronzy back-plate!  And his tiger-stripes!  And his wings!  Glory Be!

P7060144 (1)
Dahlia ‘Waltzing Matilda’ and hoverfly.

Shall I just crop that?  We see so little of what actually exists.  Look at the pollen and the pistils!

P7060145 (1)
Hoverfly. Close up.

I’m just going to calm myself for a moment.

Zinnias and Dahlias.

‘Bishop of Canterbury’ has its first flower.  It is really difficult to capture the colour.  I’ve got the colour roughly right, but there were more raspberry hues around the inner petals, and more purple around the edges.

Dahlia ‘Bishop of Canterbury’

This is another dahlia which is just as beautiful from behind.  The dark foliage really sets it off.

Dahlia ‘Bishop of Canterbury’ reverse.

I turned back to ‘Waltzing Matilda’ and there was another house-guest!


Is it a spider?


Don’t panic.  It is the size of a grain of rice.  He’s wearing a lovely tweed coat.  But in this heat, that might get a bit hot.


Club Tropicana, drinks are free
Fun and sunshine, there’s enough for everyone
All that’s missing is the sea
But don’t worry, you can suntan!

Pack your bags
And leave tonight
Don’t take your time
Gotta move your feet, don’t you miss the flight!

My aim on this site is to share the sense of wonder I get from gardening and being outdoors. Some posts are silly, like this one. Some are a bit more thoughtful.

If you would like to join the joy, click on the ‘Follow’ button at the end of this post. You will receive an email each time I post a little pop of wonder.

20 Comments Add yours

  1. Ali, there’s nothing better than a song and flowers 🙂 Your photos are gorgeous, that hoverfly! And I love the way you love your garden and all the creatures in it.

    1. Ali says:

      It is funny how often the garden brings song lyrics to mind! I amuse myself!

  2. Oh I just want to be there! It’s all so stunning and every time I look at your garden it makes me long for one of our own. Ps Love Wham!! Katie x

    1. Ali says:

      Just couldn’t help myself – those raised beds are pure Wham! Helped along by the inflatable paddling pool next to them!

      1. Wonderful! I think even I would collapse right now into a paddling pool although I daresay it wouldn’t remain inflated for long. X

  3. bcparkison says:

    You are having a grand time with your new lens. So are we. Thank you. It is all just so pretty.

  4. Fun post! Your garden is looking absolutely stunning running Ali. I love all the Zinnia and Dahlias together; very jewel garden! ❤️

  5. Eliza Waters says:

    Delightful – your macro shots are terrific, Ali!

    1. Ali says:

      Thanks Eliza!

  6. Heyjude says:

    Your macros are wonderful Ali. Love the snapdragon and bee sequence and the hoverfly. You have sooo many flowers! Do you raise a lot of these from seed yourself?

    Although I am not a Wham fan the song certainly suits today’s photos and weather!

    1. Ali says:

      Yes, all of them were raised from seed. These all did very well, but bells-of-Ireland and Nigella have been a total flop! I think I always need to calculate that a quarter will not do well. Good justification for over-buying seed!!

      1. Heyjude says:

        In a greenhouse? I have a conservatory (unheated) with not much space for growing seeds, though I have attempted it with little success other than sweet peas. My seedlings always die off. (Too wet, too dry, too cold, too hot) I have tried direct sowing but that doesn’t work either for most plants. So I am stuck with buying plants and that is an expensive way of doing it 😦

  7. Ali, I’m doing a talk to a small art gallery audience, <25, in Dunedin NZ on Sunday about Colour and my blogging journey. Wondering if it would be ok if I use one or possibly both of your hoverfly photos as an example of Colour found outside of my own site. (No internet connection so I'd save them to my computer for the presentation).

    1. Ali says:

      Of course! I would be delighted.

  8. Lynne says:

    I see your picture and think with delight am even more delighted when your sweet words match my observations

    1. Ah, thank you Lynne, that is lovely. So sorry for my late response – I had difficulties with WordPress and then forgot to respond.

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