To And From The Allotment: Finding A Beautiful Blue


Readers who have been visiting my Edge for a while will know that at Christmas I mourned the loss of my Kodak EasyShare point-and-shoot. It died on a beach in Anglesey, and its last image was of me peering into the lens, though I’m not sure what good I thought that would do. Anyway Santa Graham had bought me a Lumix replacement, so I wasn’t without a camera for long, and I was quickly enamoured of its dynamic monochrome facility.

But then some people are never satisfied. And the thing was, not to be ungrateful, I still missed my Kodak. And since the Kodak company is no more, this led to a little trawl on Ebay, and the purchase of a rehabilitated, slightly upgraded version of my original digital (more zoom), and all for the princely sum of £17.50. It is thus the camera I mostly take to the allotment, because you never do know when you might want to snap the portrait of an especially fine cauliflower, or record progress of the lettuce in the polytunnel. (I am not joking. Just you wait).

But first things first. The butterfly. This was spotted yesterday in the corner of field between our house and the allotment. I was carrying a big blue IKEA shopping bag of kitchen waste for the compost heap and a bunch of 6 foot bean poles, and it was very windy. Nonetheless, despite all these handicaps, trusty Kodak captured this gorgeous, if tiny, Common Blue butterfly. In real life it is probably less than half the size of the first photo image. You can see it more in context of this next shot. It is about 1”/2.5 cm across:


See how wonderfully it posed, and with great gusts of wind too. Here’s a shot with  breezy blast thrown in:


I thus dedicate this post to blogging chum, Ark, at A Tale Unfolds. In his Leading you up the garden path posts, he has been treating us (among other things) to dramatic entomological scenes of ambush and slaughter inside a yellow gazania; and all from his garden in Johannesburg. At different times he has also captured some splendid shots of butterflies, birds, more spiders and several praying mantis. He apparently does this while roaming his domain with a mug of coffee in one hand. For some reason this makes me think of the Mad Hatter, though I don’t think he wears a hat, and certainly not a topper. Or do you, Ark?

And now to conclude this inaugural series of to-and-from-the-allotment, here are some more dandelion clocks (broken and intact) because I’ve decided to consider them wonderful instead of a curse on my plot:


and followed by the cauliflower, which is what I really wanted to show you all along, and is also a thing of beauty, produced on my plot without pesticides, but overwintered under enviromesh. And just to boast, it was at least twice the size of the photo, and tasted delicious with kamut pasta in a goat’s cheese, parsley and onion sauce. And no, I do not do takeaways. Sorry. Though I do share excess, uncooked veggies, but you  need to come to Much Wenlock to get them.


copyright 2015 Tish Farrell

56 thoughts on “To And From The Allotment: Finding A Beautiful Blue

  1. That is a magnificent shot of the Blue. Wow! You lucky poisson.
    Thank you for the link. And … er …. I do wear a hat. Not a black ‘Topper’, but a black cowboy hat, would you believe?
    Keeps the worst of the sun off when tramping about.
    Cyber hug from across the miles. 🙂

  2. small is best when it comes to butterflies and on the hoof photography – cauliflowers on the other hand should be whoppers. A beauty you have there entomologically speaking as well as brassically

  3. This blue butterfly is beautiful, so unreal… I haven’t see cauliflower this healthy in garden. Love cauliflower. 🙂
    Great buy of the camera, Tish! 🙂

  4. How nice to grow veggies without pesticide. Over here,t he scare of GMO foods have made us anxious anytime we buy stuff from the markets. Those who can afford buy organic fruits and veggies from health farms at high prices.

    I have a small backyard garden where I grow spinach, okras, plantains and more recently basil, without pesticides.The plantains and spinach are in their second season of growth, meaning we’ve harvested the first batch and have planted the second. 🙂

    The dandelions are rather spread in front of the house; really I don’t mind. The yellow gives colour to liven up the frontage. 🙂

    Great shots, Tish. 🙂

    1. Well done you with your backyard garden. And I agree, all these GMO crops together with pesticide use make food shopping very worrying. Organic stuff is so expensive to buy everywhere. Have you tried eating the young dandelion leaves. They’re good in salads, in small quantities. Highly nutritious too. 🙂

      1. Yes. My mum use it in preparing salads. (I’m a lazy cook 🙂 ) for us all. I hear it’s also used for wine. But I have friends who blend the leaves and drink it raw to counter their diabetes and hypertension. 🙂

      1. But I learned from Kenyans! 🙂 One of the ways to begin is to take a well known story (a myth or folk story say) and work and re-work it until it becomes your own. As an architect, you know how things have to hold up when designing a structure to withstand challenging circumstances; it’s the same with a story – beginning, middle, end – problem growing to a crisis, climax, resolution – footings, foundations, walls, roof – and now we have a watertight shelter. After that it’s practice, practice, practice, and cutting out as many extraneous words as possible – just like making a beautiful building. 🙂

  5. What a beautiful little blue and your camera works a treat. You’ll be amused to know that a couple of weeks ago I spent a good hour picking off dandelion seed heads to try to stop quite as many spreading, futile i know!

    1. It’s been a bumper harvest of them this year. hasn’t it. It’s one of the reasons why I thought I needed to amend my attitude towards them or go mad. 🙂

    2. Ya gotta dig up the whole dandelion! Of course they still come back anyway. Here in California, though, we’re letting the grass, together with the dandelions, burn out.

      1. Yes, they’re a bit cussed that way. I’ve just been clearing some fresh ground on my veggie plot, and some plants have roots going off in all directions; and of course bits break off. I can thus look forward to a really good crop of dandelionlets next year. So it goes.

      2. Well, at least you get good photos out of them. But we’re all rooting (bad choice of words) for lots of cauliflower pictures.

  6. that is a stunning blue butterfly – in such good shape too ( I actually had the chance to video tape a blue butterfly that was flying around at the lake house one year – and it was tattered and worn – and well – it was a very special capture_ and so when I see this vibrant and healthy blue one – against the green = so nice! and Santa Graham came thru – so did ebay! ha! and now I am going toy make a few more wishes as I depart (thanks for the wishing clocks)….

    1. I might be posting more clocks, if the first one doesn’t come up with the goods. Just did some b & w shots yesterday. I went looking for the blue butterfly yesterday, as it had been in the same spot 3 days running, but no sign. It was a lucky shot.

      1. ha! and by the way – your comment really made my day recently – the on with those choice adjectives – appreciate it –

  7. Oh, the pleasures of gardening and all the surprises and delights! Even a little butterfly delights the senses, and the perfect radial pattern of the dandelion seeds before they fly away. And who could resist the exquisite taste of homegrown food….
    I,too, have begun my gardening season, delighting in what I can and trying not to complain too much about the aches and pains in getting the winter-weary body used to full-time activity again 🙂

    1. Hello, Annette. I’d been thinking about you and wondering what you were up to. The aches and pains, yes, I have those too. I said to G, one really needs to do weight training or something during the winter. We do expect a lot of our bodies, don’t we. Not that I can see myself weight-training though. Perhaps one could combine it with blogging 🙂

  8. I remember my first Kodak too. When you took a picture it clicked really loud and you had to press hard 🙂 Congrats on your great buy…and beautiful allotment pictures. The butterfly is gorgeous blue!

  9. I LOVE visiting your allotment Tish and what a beauty that blue butterfly is, you did very well to get such a clear, sharp shot. I never have much luck with butterflies, they flit around so quickly and just as I sneak up to one landed it has the annoying habit of folding up it’s wings… Damn…. Congratulations on that “spiffing” cauli. I would be very proud of it too. I can see a lot of love and coddling has gone into it.

  10. I too love your tales of the allotment: and the fact that to and from is never the same from day to day, even if it does mean that beautiful blue butterfly was missing. I’m glad you’ve come to terms with dandelions: your portraits of them are beautiful. I’m looking forward to more going and forcing and more allotment.

  11. Hi Tish I love your blog, thanks for stopping by to like my post and now following you back. That cauli certainly looks amazing, I bet it was wonderful in that sauce, that got my taste buds tingling 🙂

    1. The leaves are good in salad – sparingly used I feel, and roasted roots to make ‘coffee’ which is quite nice, and brilliant for perking up the liver :). But you are right about their usefulness in cultivation too, though I only found this out recently, their long tap roots (such a pest to dig up) bringing up nutrients from deep down in the soil.

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