Friday, June 30, 2006

Flowers from below

Everyone takes photos of flowers from above and they take a long shot so there is some sort of perspective, but I thought I would take a worms eye view of some flowers... do worms have eyes???

Well first of all you can never frame the picture properly, and you never know what kind of picture you are going to get since you can not look at the LCD to see what you are aiming at.

But the one good thing is that on bright days you get a wonderful blue background from the sky. The petals of the flowers also take on a transluscent quality that you would not see if you were shooting downwards.

The daisies and the poppies look different somehow... more beautiful. Sometimes you only get blue sky when you take a shot since the flowers are moving in the wind.

Sometimes your own eyebrow finds its way into the picture and you have to crop the composition to get rid of it.

Sometimes the photos are so bad you have to delete them from memory.

They photos also look wrong since everybody is used to viewing things from above that the prespective from below can be a little disconscerting.

On occasion you capture a photo where the sunlight is making the flower glow, and there is a gradient of blue across the sky. These things you could not plan and they are happy accidents that make shooting plants from below an adventure.

Light and airy plants seem to be the easist to photograph. When you get into the jungle og asparagus fronds there is too much visual noise in the photo, and the yellow squash flowers deep on the jungle of green foliage are difficult to capture since the big leaves block out the sky.

The best picture I came away with was of a Peony. There is something very delicate about the colouring of the petals. It has a very Japanese feel to it. Transendental even. It is as if this flower is whispering a secret about summer. Telling of the mystry of creation. Longing for redemption when flowers will bloom forever and never fade.
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Sunhats at the communal gardens

This is Irma and her friend they were at the Soukka allotments tending their flower garden and wearing big sun hats. The weather has been glorious and most days it has been 25C.

Irma has a large patch of pumpkins and she wanted to thin out the plants so she offered me one to plant on my compost heap. I took it and made it a mound of horse manure to grow in. It is bordered on both sides with Krass. I have also built a box for a watermelon called sugarbaby, and I have lined the box with stones so that they collect heat. Perhaps the plant can be fooled into thinking it is growing in Spain. So far it seems to be thriving.

Women are so sensible when it comes to being out in the sun. They wear big sunhats whereas I do not wear any hat at all and my head gets burnt. Most mornings I get down to the garden before I go to work, and I give it a good watering. Everything seems to be growing well, although some of the shaws on the potatoes seem to be pecked at by pheasants. Stupid birds!!! I only wish there was a motorway nearby for them to walk out on and get run over. Pheasants think that they rule the world. It comes from being so beautiful. They think that no harm can come to them since they have such wonderful plumage. It is the male of the species that gets dressed up as Beau Brummel. They do it to attract the female of the species.

But it is women who wear hats. The bigger the better. Just think of the outrageous confections that dangle from the heads of women at Royal Ascot. If I ever was to wear a hat it would be one made out of a hankie tied at the corners with four knots like the gumboot men from Monty Python with their fair-isle sweaters and braces for their trousers. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The soukka allotments

So I have got a new allotment down by the sea in Soukka. The ground is in a clearing in the forest and it receives sun most of the day. There is a cool breeze coming off the sea so it makes it easy to work. The people on these allotments are mostly Finns and only two "refugees" from Iran and Afghanistan have migrated to Soukka. It would appear that there are quite a lot of free allotments that have been left unattended, and they are either a mass of dandilions, or a tangle of nettles.

Some people have fenced their plots in, others have turned them into flowers gardens with tables and benches and pathways laid down with bark pathways, others have real proper hedges of siberian-pea to create and enclosed area. My ground is bare and open save for the plants I am trying to grow.

When I came about 4 weeks ago the ground was covered with the dried stalks of jerusalem artichokes. Someone had planted them and never lifted them. Since I don't particularly like the taste of this plant I dug them up and gave most of them away to people who wanted them, and there were about five takers. I then had to get rid of mint that had run wild in the centre of the plot. Long white roots that had spead out about 2 meters from the original plant and was now putting up new shoots.

Once the ground was cleared I dumped 12 barrowloads of well rotted horse manure on to the ground. It took an hour and a half to accomplish the job, and then to was tilled into the soil with a rotavator. The first plants to go in were Stutgart onions and as you can see from the picture they are well on their way.

The Finnish summer may be short, but it truly is glorious. I spend a could of hours a day at the allotment. It is better exercise than at the gymnasium and it does not cost a penny, and at the end of the season you are feeling pretty fit, have a tan that would cost a fortune in a health spa, and you have fresh chives to go with your new potatoes and butter. What could be better?