Archive | flowers

Singing to yourself


I cycle into town through this local Oxford park. It is far from the tourist trail, and is a nice place for locals – popular with dog walkers and people taking a short cut into town.

bedding plants

I was full of the joys of a slightly dull, misty September morning and, as I was cycling slowly through the park, an old man with dog said out loud:

“Shut up”

At first, I thought he was talking to his dog, but then realised his dog wasn’t saying anything, he was talking to me.

I was singing to myself and obviously had strayed into being audible. I hadn’t realised it, which is just slightly disconcerting; I hope it’s not the first signs of madness. He must have very good hearing.

I am trying to learn a few songs of Sri Chinmoy at the moment, and they seem to pop into my head whilst cycling into town.

As irritating habits go, singing aloud is not the worst, but I did admit the old man had a point – I probably would have found it a bit annoying if he was singing to himself.

But, I couldn’t help observe that it’s not very British to actually articulate minor irritations like this. We usually put with worse than someone muttering a half-hearted bit of singing in a public park. Continue Reading →


Cyclamen flowers


Cyclamen is a perennial flower, which is native to parts of Europe, such as Turkey. In September, the small flowers suddenly appear (before the leaves). It is a time of the year, when many other plants are finishing flowering, so their arrival at the beginning of autumn is very welcome. Continue Reading →


The flower that refuses to die

Last November and December I went through an orchid spending spree. It was the combination of the grey, miserable British winter and the ability to buy beautiful plants for excellent value. Orchids are a particularly robust plant, which excel on calculated neglect.


The only trick to growing orchids is not to over-water them; don’t leave them standing in water. Apart from that, you can water every 5-14 days; so even if you go away for two weeks, they will barely look out of sorts.
Continue Reading →


Wildflowers by the roadside

I am continuing with my cycle training this month, but am paying as much interest to the wildflowers by the side of the road.


A field of wildflowers near Charlbury.

I caught a glimpse of this field through a gap in the hedge. Continue Reading →


Wildflowers at Aston Rowant


Wildflowers at Aston Rowant nature reserve

I often do hill climb intervals up the Chiltern ridge. There are numerous different climbs, which make a varied and testing training route. Today I tried a quiet road, which I had not been on before. After 500m, the road petered out and became a farm track, so I stopped the hill climb interval mid-flow. I was going to do a u-turn and search out the next hill, but felt inspired to take a rest and went into a nearby field. The field happened to be a nature reserve with a profusion of wildflowers; I have rarely seen such a rich diversity and carpet of wildflowers in Britain.


The site is just next to the M40 motorway. I have been on the motorway hundreds of times, but you never get to see any wildflowers, just some green fields from a distance. Continue Reading →


Non-violence and the problem of slugs and snails

I have a dilemma. This year I’ve taken more interest in gardening, and have bought a few plants. The problem is that there has been an explosion in the population of slugs and snails. The garden is being decimated by these small creatures.


You wake up in the morning and new plants and old daffodils are mere shreds of their former selves, slugs greedily leaving a trail of their feasting.

It presents me with a dilemma – what to do about the slugs? Continue Reading →


Trinity College Gardens May


I was postering for some upcoming meditation classes in Oxford. Visiting Trinity College on the High Street I poked my head around the garden and there was a wonderful wildflower meadow – carefully managed to give a wonderful naturalistic style of planting.buttercups

When it is good in Oxford in May, it is very good. This felt like a scene from the Elysian fields.buttercups2

Buttercups and daisies, with dark velvet tulips in the background. It was around 11am, so the light wasn’t ideal – a bit strong.
Continue Reading →


Magnolia Blossom


I waited until 5pm to get this photo. The sun sets low enough to just start to hit the Magnolia blossom.


“What a strange thing!
to be alive
beneath cherry blossoms.”

– Kobayashi Issa,

OK, these are photos of Magnolia blossom not Apple blossom. But, I don’t think the the spirit of Haiku is to be too pedantic. Continue Reading →


Garden May 2015 – Wildlife and more

Back Garden

Some photos of back garden.

Trying to combine competitive cycling and gardening is difficult. You never want to over-tax your muscles after a long five hour cycle ride, so I tend to favour the cultivated meadow look.

I would call it – a contemporary combination of avant-garde style companion planting, innovate use of native wildflowers, informal approach to weeding and – a dash of sitting around admiring your handiwork with your feet up.

Back Garden

A garden is a place to be enjoyed, not just to work in.


Good for wildlife is important. I love to see the bees. Continue Reading →


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