Watching The Clock: Black & White Sunday


Talk about conflicting interests. When I’m at work on my allotment I continuously wage war on dandelions. They are shown no mercy, bar resorting to pesticides. And yes, I know they are very helpful plants – the roots plunging deep into the soil strata and releasing otherwise inaccessible nutrients into the topsoil.

On the other hand, on the way to the allotment, camera to hand, I have a lot of time for them. They are of course in the farmer’s field, and not on my plot, which helps to foster a little appreciation. I find their seed-head ‘clocks’ endlessly photogenic. Looked at closely, they have a mysterious and mesmerizing quality: the perfect design of their parachutes, each one programmed for relentlessly unavoidable procreation.

And so, even as I feel my spade-hand twitching towards a ruthless uprooting, I’m also thinking ‘live and let live’. There are other good reasons to love dandelions. I’ve mentioned in earlier posts that these plants possess great therapeutic qualities. Herbalists have long used the roots for healing liver conditions, while the leaves and flowers act more on the kidneys (not for nothing is the dandelion’s country name piss-in-the-bed.) You can use the young leaves in salads, while the roasted roots make a passable coffee. Meanwhile, the dandelion in the photo is also auditioning for a special effects role in Star Trek.

Black & White Sunday

Incy Wincy Wenlock Crab Spider For Ark: Macro Monday


The flower is a wild corn cockle, and in real life it’s around an inch across,  or two and a bit centimetres in alternative dimensions. The spider is utterly minute then, and the smallest I have spotted so far in the Farrell garden on Sheinton Street. In fact I only started noticing this species at all after Ark at A Tale Unfolds introduced me to the ones in his Johannesburg garden. Please check out his blog for more of his astonishing garden photos, though be warned – some of his close up arachnid shots might give spiderphobes a turn.

Also please visit Jude at her Macro Monday slot for more wonderful work. She’s featuring geraniums whose intricate beauty we perhaps do not appreciate enough.

Now here’s a less macro shot of the spider though it’s still larger than real life: hard to spot it beside the dewdrops: