Six on Saturday – 4/1/2020

It’s been a dry week and I should have done lots of gardening but I haven’t. There are a few minor things happening but I thought they’d keep for another week. Instead I’ve set myself a small challenge, to come up with six different takes on the same thing. It seemed like a good idea at the time but I didn’t find it as easy as I thought. Just as well The Propagator doesn’t enforce his “rules” too strictly.

One.
Narcissus bulbocodium ‘Julia Jane’. If I’m totally honest I’m not sure how this differs from the species. Many years ago I visited Savill Garden when their meadow was solid with N. bulbocodium. It was back in pre-digital days, there are probably faded photos of them in the attic. I’ve not grown them myself before this year but I saw some in pots at one of the Rosemoor shows then bought bulbs of a couple of varieties from Ron Scamp. This variety started opening around 20th December and they are now starting to go over, so maybe three weeks display. I planted 10 in this pot, twice that wouldn’t have been too many. I had 16 flowers from 10 bulbs. They’re about 6″ tall. Now I’m hoping they’ll bulk up for next year.
SOS1326

Two.
Narcissus bulbocodium ‘Julia Jane’. When you see these things at shows you can only ever take photos in horrible light and with all sorts of clutter about. Then the show people whisk them away a pot at a time and take decent portraits of them. I tried.
SOS1327

Three.
Narcissus bulbocodium ‘Julia Jane’. At Savill, they were growing in a damp meadow, not conditions I could supply easily. Perhaps they’d look like this in the garden.SOS1328

Four.
Narcissus bulbocodium ‘Julia Jane’. Taking close up photos usually means very shallow depth of field, most of the subject is out of focus. You need to focus stack. I focus stacked.
SOS1329

Five.
Narcissus bulbocodium ‘Julia Jane’. Not everyone wants a picture where every cell and hair and pollen grain is visible; some just want a pretty picture. There’s no just about it, that’s for sure, this is my attempt at an arty shot.
SOS1330

Six.
Narcissus bulbocodium ‘Julia Jane’, the movie. For Lora.


I wonder who Julia Jane is.

I can’t see myself repeating that little exercise for a while. Kept me amused for a bit though. Please don’t call me a narcissist. For the sensible sixers head over to The Propagator, they’re lurking in the comments section.

31 thoughts on “Six on Saturday – 4/1/2020

  1. Good pictures Jim, your take on photography was enlightening. These days with digital photography we are spoiled for choice, we have so many opportunities to get it right. Remember when we took one or two photos and a 35mm cassette only held the capacity for 36 pictures ? Then you had to send the film away and wait a week for the prints, did you ever get 36 good pictures ? Now things have moved on yet again and the smart phone will provide a series of pictures with different exposures in a second and you can send them round the world without leaving the garden.

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    1. I never got 36 good ones, 36 bad ones too often. Digital makes it a bit easier to take good shots and much easier to take bad ones. Really good pictures are as elusive as they ever were.

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  2. “Please don’t call me a narcissist” – had me laughing! I like your six. I’m not sure I like the flower, though I have seen it growing in large swathes where it does look attractive. To me it looks as if someone has taken a pair of scissors to the trumpet.

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  3. The movie is fab. Oscar winner surely. I hope Lora approves. It made me laugh, I have enough trouble loading six in focus photos so all your hard work is very appreciated.

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  4. I enjoyed that Jim thanks. Not narcissistic at all! To continue the camera discussion do you use a macro lens for these close ups? I am interested in how other people take good flower pictures and would like to get better at it.

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    1. I should do a blog about taking pictures. There’s a world of professional photography and very keen amateurs which I’m not part of and feel intimidated by but, equally, I have been taking pictures of plants for a very long time so I have experience on my side. I do use a macro lens, 60mm for the narcissus, but it is focus stacking that takes it up a notch.

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      1. Yes, please. A lot of us would enjoy a blog on that. I would be very keen to read more and I have a lot to learn. i expect that professionals are using clamps, lighting and all sorts of paraphanalia but perhaps there are some simple every day lessons you could share with us? Might even be a ‘top six’ tips!?

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      2. I have my thinking cap on. It’d be a good subject to get a discussion going on, I’m sure there’s a lot we could learn from each other, all of us in the garden blogosphere.

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  5. Sorry for the delay – I’ve been occupied by a lame pup who is now back on all 4s so I’m here & absolutely delighted! But Jim, what happened to your Appalachian accent? You sound English! (And erudite, to be honest.) I had no idea it’d take all that floostering to make the video, but I’m not going to apologise about asking for it. This little miracle clip gave me very much joy on a dreary Tuesday. From the other comments, I think I’m not alone (just late). As to Julie Jane herself, I said out loud when I saw her, ‘O I want one of those,’ & my son, who happened to be walking past said, ‘You’ve never met a plant you don’t like.’

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    1. I’m not sure that I’m comfortable with being erudite, sounds like it comes with expectations. English I’ll own up to. I wasn’t sufficiently deterred by the floostering to be put off having another go, though I’ve nothing specific planned. Dreary Tuesday it most certainly is, I’m struggling for joy somewhat, though I’ve spent the day amongst camellias which has provided a little.

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  6. Ah, so THIS is what I was missing. I got the earlier posts though. I had to look up the species real quick, and found that there are cultivars that bloom richer yellow and white too! I happen to like narcissus and daffodils. They used to be grown a cut flower crops in Montara, I remember abandoned fields of them. They seemed to be very naturalized . . . except that they were in rows. They were the classic ‘King Alfred’ daffodils in a big field, and common paperwhite narcissus in a smaller field. The term narcissist makes me cringe though. https://feltonleague.com/2019/07/13/npd/

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    1. Thinking about it, Narcissus isn’t a flattering name to have bestowed on a pretty nice genus. There are many hedgerows around here which are full of mixed daffodils, dumped when they cleared the fields for another crop.

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