Kat in Northumberland County, Ontario, shared some photos and thoughts on gardening with children and embracing color in the garden earlier, and today she’s got a set of photos to share on the theme of shape in the garden.
For me, photographing the garden is almost as significant an experience as working in it. I had a camera as a teenager, and I remember how careful I had to be about how many pictures I took, since development of each roll of film was a major investment relative to my allowance. What an astonishing difference now, to have a powerful digital camera in my pocket all the time, to experiment with light and angles freely, to capture along with every image the day and the time that the plants in the garden looked this way, to follow the same structures through the seasons and to document the impermanent shapes for the moments they exist. And my gardener education has been aided by plant identification apps, giving real-time names and descriptions to what I find in the yard and at the garden center. I love the intersection of science and art in gardening, and photography is the best way for me to enjoy where they meet.
This columbine (Aquilegia hybrid, Zones 4–8), standing at attention, had the most personality of the garden blooms.
Baptisia has been planted throughout my gardens; if I have a signature plant, this is it. The structures change dramatically through the season, from the early colorful spires in spring, to the strong, shrublike growth in summer, and finishing with the Halloween shapes of blackened branches and seedpods in fall.
The wild columbine (Aquilegia canadensis, Zones 3–8) is native to our area; I like how its nodding flower looks like a dragon.
Peonies grow beautifully here, and mine came with the house, growing for decades long before we got here. They are late bloomers, and I wait for them eagerly, watching the neighbors’ peonies burst open first. Mine are late to the party but arrive super fancy and huge.
Last year I experimented with growing moon flowers at the side of the deck. Now I’m experimenting with vines, with growing morning glories from seed and hydrangea vines on my garden arch, and with saving the offspring of a transplanted clematis, almost lost in a fit of weeding. This morning glory (Ipomoea purpurea, annual) held off blooming until fall and was one of the last flowers we had this year.
Our giant sunflowers (Helianthus annuus, annual) were hosts to a diverse insect population. I feel like this picture, taken from below, almost shows the weight of the flower and the seeds. The stalks drooped soon after, and we decorated the back stump with the dried heads, leaving a feast for the local wildlife.
Winter in the garden, when the last shapes are those made of metal, for specific functions, and the evergreens and columnar grasses. I’m counting down to next year already.
Have a garden you’d like to share?
Have photos to share? We’d love to see your garden, a particular collection of plants you love, or a wonderful garden you had the chance to visit!
To submit, send 5-10 photos to [email protected] along with some information about the plants in the pictures and where you took the photos. We’d love to hear where you are located, how long you’ve been gardening, successes you are proud of, failures you learned from, hopes for the future, favorite plants, or funny stories from your garden.
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