Reflecting on a garden through the lens

Our garden is frequently visited by photographers taking photographs for various gardening publications, although they nearly always promise to send us some samples of their work for our own use they seldom do.

Recently Paul Morris, a photographer from Suffolk, has been taking photographs of our garden and he has very kindly sent us the results of his work.

It is always good to see our garden through a fresh pair of eyes, I take photographs but, when I see our garden through the eyes of another person it takes on a whole new persona, they see views, vistas and angles that have eluded me, this is refreshing and I learn much from the experience.

One thing that I have learned from Paul's photographs is never to underestimate the power of reflection such as we find in our garden ponds. I think that the photograph of our Exotic Garden with the reflection of Palm trees and Bananas, the last vestiges of dahlias and cannas, the yellowing leaves on the water lilies in the pond all topped and bottomed by a brilliant azure blue, autumnal sky illustrates my point.

In my opinion, a garden without water has no soul for the simple addition of a garden pond, however small, brings with it a new and exciting dimension.

See more of his pictures at Wildlife is the first thing that water brings to a garden for a pond, be it large or small, will entice all manner of small mammals and birds to drink, insects will come to breed for many of these lay their eggs in water and have a larval stage that spends time beneath its surface.

If you're lucky, you might have dragonflies and damselflies that dart and flit around so prettily.

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Frogs and toads, that do so much good in the garden feeding on our unwanted mollusc population, may come to lay their eggs, frogs in great jelly-like masses, toads more gracefully in strings. If you are really lucky you may have newts too, we have one pond in the garden here where newts lay their eggs every year together with some toads.

This pond unfortunately develops some patches of the dreaded, unsightly blanket weed every year and I am often asked by visitors why I do not fish it out. My reasons for not doing so is that if I do this I might take out some tadpoles or efts as the young of newts are known and that I should not wish to be responsible for. So I'm afraid the blanket weed stays: I should not wish to throw out the baby with the bath water!

Those are just a few good reasons for installing a pond into your garden; there are others more selfish perhaps.

Reflections I have mentioned -whatever they are, it could just be watching a blue sky with fluffy white clouds scudding past in an ever-changing panoply or watching fish if you have them swim and feed, or quite simply, enjoying the peace and calm and the gentle hum that pond life brings with it.

However you enjoy your pond, I guarantee that it will bring interest and total fascination to you and to all those that you share your garden with.

Most of next season's seed and plant catalogues have arrived, each one trying to outdo that others with new introductions but sometimes there is something that jumps off the page at med. This happened a few days ago with the arrival of Dobie's of Devon catalogue, there on page two was a picture that quite took me back to my childhood.

A plant that I once knew well but, had gone out of favour, Schizanthus 'Tinkerbelle', I could live without the rather simpering name but, the plant itself is easy and charming, it is commonly known as the 'Poor Man's Orchid' and its flowers are in shades of pink, crimson, mauve and purple all with attractively marked petals.

It is easily grown from seed and I see that it is on offer at �1.55 for 280 seeds which will give any gardener enough to ensure a good succession of plants for the whole summer. They say that it is ideal for pots indoors and for the garden and containers outside. Well, only if the weather remains fair for they are easily spoilt by summer rains however they are very worthwhile growing to decorate a conservatory, sun room or greenhouse. They grow to a height of 30 to 40 cms (12 to 16 inches).

Dobie's can be contacted on 0844 701 7625 or look at their website at

We have had considerable success over the past three years with so-called annual Rudbeckias which are sold as half-hardy annuals. These we grew from seed expecting never to see them again after their bounteous summer flowering however they have reappeared each successive year. I was especially surprised after last winter when the temperatures plummeted but now they are growing in the chicken runs and add much to the scene.

This year Mr Fothergill's is offering quite a collection of them; I particularly like the look of a variety called 'Aries' with large yellow and brown flowers. These make ideal cut flowers and very good border plants. They grow to a height of 75 cms (30 inches) but there are many others in varying shades, colours and heights in fact, something for everybody. Telephone 0845 371 0518 or look at their website on

•This article was first published on November 12, 2011.