Tripping the Light Fantastic

I have been writing a series about sensory qualities in the garden.  We’ve had colourform, texture, colour and flower form.

There are also more transitory sensory qualities.  Weather conditions affect the temperature, moisture levels and light, which in turn affect the colour and texture of petals and leaves.  The tilt of the Earth in relation to the Sun, affects the quality of light at different times of the year.

Today, I am focusing on light.

Light adds another dimension.

Midday sun can flatten and unify colours.  The lower light at the beginning or end of the day is more gentle.  It adds subtlety and softness.  Fortunately it is at these times of day when I am most likely to take a walk around the garden: before or after work.

I love the deeply saturated colour on the heads of these doves, compared with their translucent backs.

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Aquilegia ‘Hensol’s Harebell’

When plants are backlit, we notice new details.  It might be the hairiness of a stem, the creases on a petal, or the veining on a leaf.

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Papaver rhoeas (Common Field Poppy) with Penstemon ‘Garnet’ twinkling away behind.

The soft textures of this zinnia are brought out in the morning light.  The outer petals have a soft down; the inner petals are feathers in a nest.

Zinnia 'Queen Red Lime'
Zinnia ‘Queen Red Lime’

Some petals sparkle in the sun.  The perfect creases in the petals of this Nicotiana are also emphasised.

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Nicotiana ‘Sensation’

Sometimes we see the outline of a plant all the more clearly.

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Eryngium alpinum

Or the overlap of foliage.

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Peony foliage

We see bright white light, like a revelation.

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Penstemon ‘Sour Grapes’

As a flower unfurls, the outer petals become more translucent, like a halo of light.  There are deep, dark shadows at the centre.

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Dahlia ‘American Dawn’

We notice patterns; repetition of form.

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Agastache ‘Blue Boa’

Sometimes light emphasises contrasts in form.  Like the distinct arches of this rose, against the soft blobs of Phlox behind.

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Rosa ‘Boscobel’ with Phlox paniculata ‘Purple Flame’ behind.

And sometimes the light allows us to appreciate texture.  I want to sink my face into this rose.

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Rosa ‘Munstead Wood’

Light makes us appreciate that we only have this moment.  This will never happen quite like this, in this way, ever again.

Like standing in front of a stained glass window, or a glade in a forest with light streaming through.

Notice it, bathe in it, drink it in.

I aim to share my little pops of wonder in this blog.  If you don’t want to miss any, then you can click the ‘Follow’ button at the base of this post to receive an email when I post.

If you think that someone in your life might benefit from the sunlight, please feel free to share this post via email or social media, but clicking the relevant icon below.

25 Comments Add yours

  1. Another very beautiful post Ali.. would you remind me what that zinnia is called?

    1. Ali says:

      It’s Zinnia ‘Queen Red Lime’. Thank you for prompting me to caption the image!

      1. Oh that’s right, I couldn’t remember! What a lovely shot it is too 🙂

  2. Jane Eastgate says:

    Amazing photos. Another dose of serenity to start the day.

  3. Chloris says:

    Wow Ali. Dazzling photographs.

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you Chloris!

  4. Ann Mackay says:

    Gorgeous flowers – I wanted to sink my face into that rose too!

  5. You have captured the light wonderfully in these pictures – autumn light is very special I think.

    1. Ali says:

      All the more precious because we know we need to make the most of it!

  6. So lovely Ali, as usual. You always give us a feast for our eyes.

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you Cindy.

  7. I love how your posts invite us to engage all of our senses and notice our world more. I have become more present to Nature because of your blog. Thank you, Ali.

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you Shelly, that is wonderful to hear.

  8. FlowerAlley says:

    Wonderful photos here. Well done Ali.

  9. In photography, I much prefer backlighting for all the reasons you stated. Love those purple doves! They’re enjoying a conversation.

    1. Ali says:

      They are incredible, aren’t they? Each year when they come out they blow me away.

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you Eliza.

  10. Heyjude says:

    That Zinnia is terrific. I really enjoy your posts examining various aspects of flowers / gardens and the sensory pleasures they bring. My personal guide to a ‘Mindfulness’ garden is to have four elements in it: Colour, texture, scent and movement.

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you Jude. Yes, movement is something I sometimes overlook, but then it rains and I realise how much nodding movement there is and how lovely it is.

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