Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Shy flowers are beautiful too

The Mourning Widow Geranium
Geranium phaeum variations from our garden

This is one of my favourite background plants for slightly shady corners of the garden – it will cross with other geraniums and self seed, planting itself where it's happiest so you don't have to decide where to put it. The leaves make attractive large cushions and are prettily marked with burgundy spots; the flowers tend to cast their faces down and refuse to meet your eye. They're worth a closer look.

Today My English Country Garden reminded me that there is a white variety, g. phaeum 'Album' – wouldn't that look beautiful in our Wild Wood! I'll put it on my wish list. She also mentioned a 'blue' variation called Langthorn’s Blue, which prompted me to look closer at the flowers on the self-sown plants in the garden. Here they are floating in a shallow dish of water – every one is different!

Seeing them drifting across the water I almost did a video instead of a still photo but the camera is low on power and uploading the file is a pain with a broadband signal that's delicate – so you'll just have to use your imagination. The picture can be enlarged if you click on it.

PS: If you're one of those who paid more attention in physics lessons than I did, perhaps you could explain to me why the shadows have those pretty edges.


  1. Hi Celia, there's also a very pale mauve/white one called 'Marchant's ghost', from Graham's place in Sussex. There may even be a picture on my blog somewhere....

  2. I love these dark bruised colours, they are so striking.

  3. What a beautiful picture, Celia. Long time, no speak, but I often look at your blog and ALWAYS enjoy it, and this time your lovely photograph has moved me to say so!

    I haven't been to Gainsborough House for a long time though I may try to do a course there again this summer. My printmaking is currently happening in my studio and at a nice printmaking studio in Kew, Surrey.

    Best wishes, Lucy

  4. That's one of my favourite flowers, though we don't have nearly as many variants as you do!

  5. I have phaeum album but it doesn't seed itself around. I'd know if it did - I'm an untidy gardener - I love all the freebies!

    I got a decent physics A-level but these days if I don't forget stuff at the same rate I'm learning it I'd have a brain meltdown! I think it might be connected to parallax? A sort of perspective shift due to bending of light in water.

  6. Lovely to have those colour variations. Beautiful photograph. The white will be lovely in woodland


  7. 'Mourning Widow' seeds itself freely around my garden - I love it. It grows among my deep purple hellebores ( which astonishingly, came into flower in January, and are still flowereing now - I have never known them to flower for such a long period before!)

  8. wow..i just found your blog. is this your garden? it is fantastic! i know you wil really like seeing mine. check it out when you have time:


    hope you enjoy!

  9. What a great idea to float the flowerheads in water. You can really study the detail. I have a purplish blue variety and a pale pink variety. I rather suspect common varieties! x

  10. Hi Wendy - more temptation to visit Marchant's Nursery!

    Hi Zoe - I love deep burgundy and plum flowers too.

    Thank you Gina - I must use this as the inspiration for a block design.

    Hi Lucy - so good to hear from you again :-) I haven't been to Gainsborough House either - and my Print Workshop membership expired. I should rejoin and make use of those presses! good luck with your new projects.

    Hi Dottycookie - I think I bought two, a very dark maroon one with dark blotched leaves and a lovely lilac one from the National Collection holder in Cambridge. They've done their own thing since then!

    Hi Veg Heaven - I'll track down a g. phaeum 'Album' and encourage the paler lilacs to spread in the dappled shade. I was thinking it might be something like how a pin-hole camera works ...

    Hi Joanna - I was pleased with the picture (tricky to do on a windy day with a cat assuming it was his drinking bowl!)

    Hi Danielle - I love dark hellebores too - amazing that they are still in flower.

    Hi Jaz - your garden is delightful - it's giving me ideas for our Wild Wood :-)

    Hi Louise - floating the flowers in a shallow bowl is a lovely way to display them. Don't be ashamed of common flowers - if they thrive and look splendid that's all that matters!



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