Tag Archives: calendula

Thinking of Summer

I’m looking forward to summer now. Autumn is all well and good, with plenty of interesting leaves and migrant birds and I like Spring, though it’s always a sad time as you know it won’t last.


Teasel at Rufford Abbey

Winter, to be fair, offers a few frost-rimed photo opportunities but little else. In the English midlands we don’t have much to offer in the way of scenery or snowfall.

Marigold with frost

Calendula at Wilford

So that leaves Summer. Summer is easy – plenty of flowers and plenty of insects, including butterflies. There’s a lack of birds because they mainly hide behind leaves, but you can’t have everything.

I was speaking to Eddiethebugman earlier today. You may remember his guinea pig shots from an earlier post. He takes a lot of photos of insects (as you may guess from the name) and employs a technique called focus stacking, which produces brilliant images of insects.

As I understand it you bracket the focus settings and use a computer to put together a very sharp image using the best bits from all the shots.


Angle Shades moth

It’s beyond my technical capabilities, but I’m a great admirer of anyone who can do it.

He was telling me that he was once criticised for using the technique, as it isn’t “proper photography”. It’s a bit like the list of words you shouldn’t use in poems – there’s always someone ready to tell you what you should and shouldn’t be doing. I even read a poetry competition judge recently saying that you shouldn’t write poems about butterflies.

Small Copper

Small Copper in the garden

Who wants to live in a world without butterfly poems?

The same goes for photographs. I’m always happy to see good close-ups of insects, no matter how they are produced. If someone wants to spend hours over producing one perfect image I’m prepared to admire both the photograph and the craftsmanship.

My photos, as you can see, are more of a point and shoot affair with a large helping of luck and hit and miss. I’ve added a few to liven up the post.


Comedy carrot



Chives and Calendula

It isn’t a combination you hear of often, though they do both feature n my edible flower and weed salads, and may do so again as I try to feed garden weeds to the visitors on Sunday.

Today they are together by coincidence. I’ve been meaning to have a go at a hand cream for a while as my eczema is coming back and my hands are starting to crack. I’ve looked up a recipe and I knew I was dead-heading this week ready for Open Farm Sunday (sorry to mention it again) so while I was taking the seed heads off I also picked a good selection of flowers (trying to get as many orange ones as possible) . It worked out at 26 flower heads to two thirds of a jar. They are now steeping, and I will see how it goes. I have also traced last year’s beeswax so may be able to source both flowers and wax from the farm. Theoretically I could source the oil too as we are growing oilseed rape this year and also planting sunflowers as game cover. However, hand pressing my own oil isn’t my idea of fun as i don’t imagine it coming easily.


The other project is chive blossom vinegar. Unlike the hand cream, which has been at the back of ┬ámy mind for some years, I didn’t even know this existed until two days ago. It took a couple of jugs of flower heads, a brief struggle with some bumble bees (don’t worry, I left them plenty) and some warmed vinegar of two different sorts. One lot is in white malt vinegar and the other in cider vinegar. It’s not actually an experiment, it’s just what I had in the cupboard.


The recipe, if you can call it that as it’s so simple, is now on the Recipe Page under the Resources tab. After two days the vinegar has already taken on a fierce pink colour – not really sure how to describe it.. It also tastes quite good, though I do know that I’m supposed to leave it a lot longer yet.