GROWING COMMUNITY

It was so exciting to return to RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival and see friends again from the horticulture community and to meet new ones too. As an allotment holder myself I am focussing on this area for my first blog from an RHS show this year. I work my allotment with my wife on no dig, organic and permaculture principles, so it was fantastic to see the No Dig Allotment Demonstration Garden inspired by Charles Dowding and Stephanie Hafferty showcased at the show.

For those new to the no dig method it turns conventional fruit and veg growing and gardening on its head. By not digging you will not only save your back but most importantly you will not be not be disrupting soil life, which is the important micro-organisms, fungi and worms, that help feed plant roots. In a small handful of soil there are an estimated 10 billion bacteria and 1 million fungi. In that handful of soil are more living organisms than the total number of human beings on earth. By choosing not to dig the soil, this in itself sequesters carbon, as soon as the soil is disturbed carbon is released. Understanding this is so important to the health of the planet as we currently grapple with the climate emergency. The key to no dig is mulch, mulch, mulch and reap the benefits of soil health which translates to your health, spend less time weeding and watering, it really is a win win way of gardening.

Over the past year and a half my own allotment has been a place of solace and healing too. Last year my brother was hospitalised with Covid and spent 2 months in ICU in an induced coma and on a ventilator. When he was finally discharged I went to pick him up in London and brought him home to our house for his recovery. We fed him a plant based organic diet with produce and herbs grown fresh on our allotment, even down to making fresh nettle tea from our allotment, yes it’s a herb and a medicine and beneficial to wildlife, you will have also seen it on the No Dig Allotment at Hampton. When he was strong enough he wanted to come with me to the allotment and I will always remember his comment that “this was so much better as all our raised bed aisles were packed full of healthy home grown produce”. He really appreciated the space up there as he has no garden, just like one in eight of the population of the UK. He spent all his time recovering from his ordeal in our garden and at the allotment and thankfully his recovery has been remarkable through this. I have valued this space too as a place of solace and for my own mental wellbeing during this period as I then sadly lost my father last September which was a tough time for all the family.

It’s the reason I was really drawn to spend the most time at the allotments, community and schools area at the show as people shared their stories and experiences of what community spaces and growing meant to them. There really was the biggest buzz at the show here as it was always busy with people sharing their experiences and visions too. When I chatted with Sara Venn about the show, I had said that the main show gardens were aspirational and out of the reach of the majority, Sara commented that this area was completely inspirational, which it truly was. The majority of the people I chatted with about the show had found this area the most interesting as there were so many ideas to take away with you.

I often see plastic pots on the tops of bamboo canes on allotments, how much better to use cork.

Repurposing empty plastic peat free compost bags as grow bags.

Reusing tin cans as containers for growing lettuce and plants in.

There were really wonderful bug hotels, my favourite ones were in the schools section. The Bugamid of Giza was really clever as it not only had places for insects and wildlife but also showed complex mathematics and geometry in its construction.

This telephone box must have been fun making at school too.

Loved this dual purpose insect hotel that was also a hot compost heap growing a squash plant.

Flowers grown in old metal mop buckets, great repurposing.

Herbs grown in old painted watering cans.

It’s so important to have wildlife areas in our gardens, allotments and community spaces as seen here on the No Dig Allotment. Nettles are not only useful to make your own nettle tea fertiliser, they are a good tonic for the body too. They are especially needed by beneficial insects such as ladybirds and butterfly’s and seed eating birds, plus nettles can be used to make cordage and clothes.

There were so many clever and inspirational ideas to take away from the show.

This old rhubarb forcer is used as a water station for birds and insects by using an old terracotta saucer filled with stone chippings.

Allow some plants to run to seed and save the seed for sowing and sharing at local seed swaps. Swapping seeds with other gardeners in your local area is a good way to increase the variety of what you grow, as well as a good opportunity to pass on Heritage seed varieties, preserve seed sovereignty and to exchange gardening tips. Plants that run to seed and grown in your local area will have adapted to the soil and climatic conditions. Last year there was a major seed shortage as more people wanted to grow their own. Along with seed exchanges, local allotments and community spaces can organise areas where if you have grown too many seedlings for your own use you can leave them for others to take, this worked really well at our allotments in Stroud last year.

Love flowers and veg, grow them together for cut flowers,

for pollinators

or as companion plants.

Use roofing spaces for sedum roofs.

Create ponds for our aquatic friends after all frogs will eat slugs and snails.

If you don’t have the space horizontally try vertical gardening.

Healthy microgreens can be grown at home in repurposed containers.

I was shown around the Alton Local Food Initiative (ALFI) display.

They enable and encourage their local community to get involved in growing and eating locally grown fruit and veg by having plots and planters around the town and taking over disused plots of land for growing food crops, which reduces food miles and makes locally grown food accessible. They are one of many such community groups around the country involved in this type of action, reclaiming land and making positive change in the local community.

The whole allotment, no dig, community and schools space at the show really was a meeting place for nurturing ideas, sharing knowledge, stories and experience, a big reason why this area was so popular with visitors. The No Dig Allotment was a place you could walk through the garden and see it from the inside, it was very interactive, with talks scheduled each day from various inspirational speakers. These spaces inspired you to get involved in your local area and to make positive change and most importantly be part of the movement and growing community.

Please share any resources and links in the comments box below so that myself and others can visit and I’d love you to share what gardening, allotments and community spaces mean to you.

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Look Back at Chelsea Flower Show Gardens

Photographer: Stephen Studd - The David Harber and Savills garden, view through corten rusted steel screens towards the Aeon sculpture, planted with Lupinus 'Persian Slipper', Aquilegia 'Blue Barlow', Aquilegia 'Nora Barlow' - Designer: Nic Howard - Spon
The David Harber and Savills garden: Designer: Nic Howard

As a garden photographer one of the joys of the Chelsea Flower Show is getting early access at 5.30am to witness some beautiful sunrises over the show gardens. With such a large catalogue of images I’m looking back at the past 5 years of gardens at Chelsea, a time that camera sensor technology really advanced too, allowing shots like these sunrises.

Photographer: Stephen Studd  -  The M&G Garden, view of Forest of Dean stone path and patio, oak garden wall, Aquilegia chrysantha, Briza media 'Golden Bee', Euphorbia wallichii, Phlox divaricata 'Clouds of Perfume', Quercus pubescens - Designer: Cleve We
Designer: Cleve West

RHS Chelsea flower show 2015 The M&G Garden – The Retreat - designer Jo Thompson - sponsors M & G Investments awarded silver gilt medal
Designer: Jo Thompson

Photographer: Stephen Studd - The Breaking Ground Garden, Sunrise over the garden, Stipa gigantica, Melica altissima 'Alba', Salvia nemorosa 'Caradonna', Salvia greggii 'Nachtvlinder', Verbascum phoeniculum 'Violetta', Pimpinella major 'Rosea', Designer:
Designers: Andrew Wilson and Gavin McWilliam

Photographer: Stephen Studd - The Resilience Garden - Border pla
Designer: Sarah Eberle

Photographer: Stephen Studd  -  The Telegraph Garden, view of bronze coated fin panels, limestone path, Isoplexis canariensis, adobe wall, Maytenus boaria, Quercus ilex, Schinus molle, -  Designer: Andy Sturgeon - Sponsor:  The Telegraph
Designer: Andy Sturgeon

Paul Hervey-Brookes Associates, 11 Lansdown, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 1BB, England, UK. landscape garden designer Viking Cruises Wellness garden gold medal RHS Chelsea Flower Show London UK 2018 photography by Stephen Studd photographer, Built by Gar
Designer: Paul Hervey-Brookes

As an organic allotment holder I am always on the look out for gardens that incorporate growing fruit and vegetables. In 2017 the BBC Radio 2 Chris Evans Taste Garden designed by Jon Wheatley really had it all.

The Welcome to Yorkshire Garden designed by Mark Gregory in 2018 had a beautifully compact veg patch under a cascading Wisteria.

For small urban spaces Tom Massey found a great solution for growing your own.

A hand woven wicker compost heap was a novel idea on the garden designed by Ann-Marie Powell.

Photographer: Stephen Studd  -  The RHS Greening Grey Britain Garden, woven willow compost bins, insect hotel on side of shed, Digitalis purpurea and cow parsley - Designer Anne Marie Powell - Sponsor: RHS

The cut flower garden by Sarah Raven was a delight and packed with colour.

Matt Keightley’s Radio 2 Texture garden had to have the best garden wall award.

Photographer: Stephen Studd  -  The BBC Radio 2 Jeremy Vine Texture Garden, Stone path, concrete wall inlaid with moss balls, Acer Griseum, Euphorbia 'Fens Ruby',  Euphorbia 'Whistleberry Garnet', Cirsium rivulare 'Atropurpureum', Stipa tenuissima, CalaHis planting in the garden was also exquisite.

I’m always fascinated by the seating used by garden designers, my all time favourite were the granite boulders by Darren Hawkes.

Stephen Studd - The Brewin Dolphin Garden - granite stone carved seats on patio area, dry stone wall -Designer Darren Hawkes Landscapes - Sponsor Brewin Dolphin awarded gold medalHere’s a selection of some more.

A garden which took me back to the colourful Mexican palette I encountered on my travels was the Beneath A Mexican Sky garden designed by Manoj Malde.

Favourite water feature was Jo Thompson’s natural swimming pool, one day I’ll have my own it’s on the tick list.

Stephen Studd - The M & G Garden  The Retreat -wooden jetty over natural swimming pond pool, water marginal plants -designer Jo Thompson - sponsors M & G Investments awarded silver gilt medal

These other water features I really liked.

First sauna in the garden at Chelsea, Paul Hervey-Brookes one was very enticing.

Paul Hervey-Brookes Associates,  11 Lansdown, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 1BB, England, UK. landscape garden designer Viking Cruises Wellness garden gold medal RHS Chelsea Flower Show London UK 2018 photography by Stephen Studd photographer, Built by GarFor the inner child in you, who didn’t want to climb up in to the tree house designed by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge with Andree Davies and Adam White.

Photographer: Stephen Studd -The RHS Back to Nature Garden – w

During lockdown many of us are having to work from home, Chelsea had some great spaces for garden offices.

Another on my to have list is the shepherd hut by Plankbridge, office or hideaway, tbc.

Photographer: Stephen Studd - The Supershoes, Laced With Hope Garden: urban garden wall with graffiti, curved wooden bench, mixed border planted with Lupinus 'Towering Inferno', Lupinus Desert Sun', Lupinus 'Masterpiece', Geum 'Cosmopolitan'. Poppies, Al

With climate change a reality, al fresco dining areas are increasingly important areas of the garden. This one designed by Tony Woods had an outdoor kitchen, edible living wall and had water conservation at it’s heart. 

The RHS Greening Grey Britain Garden also had water conservation at it’s heart and creating spaces that are beneficial to wildlife.

Naturalistic planting is becoming more evident at Chelsea, a technique that I use in my own garden. It has been backed up in numerous studies that the colour green promotes quicker healing and recovery from illness and is also good for mental well being and stress reduction.

This softening with green can also be used in urban landscape design and community centres.

Finally the plants are the real show stoppers at Chelsea and here are some of my favourite views over the past 5 years.

x

Don’t you just love Chelsea.

Photographer: Stephen Studd - The Supershoes, Laced With Hope G

Really missing Chelsea this year and seeing lots of friends there and coming home with bags full of design ideas, but looking forward to next years. Do check out this years RHS Virtual Chelsea by clicking this link.

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Missing Chelsea

It’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show Press Day, or would have been, which usually sees me waking up at 4am for early access to photograph the show gardens. Instead this year I woke up at 4.30am panicking I was late, my Chelsea body clock is still there, today there was a beautiful sunrise, still, sunny and the air filled with bird song, just like Chelsea last year. The Andy Sturgeon garden for M&G, won Best in Show & Gold Medal.

The garden was one I kept going back to, it felt very calming and contemplative amongst all the busyness at Chelsea.

Being a Yorkshire lad, the Welcome to Yorkshire garden by Mark Gregory was a must see, it really looked like it had been there since the time the canal lock was built, a great feat of engineering and planting.

As a garden photographer having early access to the show gives you time to really look around and see the gardens that resonate with you, even if they didn’t get the coveted Chelsea Gold. There was something about the David Neale – Silent Pool Gin garden that I really liked. This garden showed that stark concrete environments can be softened by plants, a water feature and thought out garden design.

Green really was the colour last year, with bold use in The Greenfingers Charity Garden. designed by Kate Gould, which also used soft pastel tones in the planting which were very calming.  The garden was designed to resemble one of their hospice gardens and be restful, uplifting and interactive, a place of play, relaxation and peaceful contemplation.

It was great to see the The Green Switch Garden designed by Kazuyuki Ishihara another garden of contemplation and everything Zen, the joy on Kazayuki’s face when he won another Chelsea gold was lovely to witness.

Rusted metalic colours were also evident last year, I really liked the digger bucket turned in to a lily pond on the The Walker’s Forgotten Quarry Garden, designed by Graham Bodle.

Photographer: Stephen Studd - The Walker's Forgotten Quarry Gard

Also the banana leaf on the CAMFED Garden Giving Girls in Africa a Space to Grow, designed by Jilayne Rickards.

Photographer: Stephen Studd - The CAMFED Garden Giving Girls in

The copper chair on the Silent Pool Gin garden

Photographer: Stephen Studd - The Silent Pool Gin Garden – con

The High Maintenance Garden designed by Sue Hayward had repurposed galvanised metal tanks and old metal railings with trailing roses.

The Resilience Garden designed by Sarah Eberle with the old silo, addressed the challenges posed by climate change and the pests and diseases that threaten forests today and in the future.

Chris Beardshaw’s  Morgan Stanley garden looked at how to create sustainable gardens through materials sourced and also in the constructing of them. It was another garden that felt peaceful and relaxing.

The RHS Back to Nature Garden, designed by HRH The Duchess of Cambridge with Andree Davies and Adam White was a fun space for children, with dens tree houses and water, big ideas packed in to a small space. Who wouldn’t like to be in the tree house and have a go on the rope swing?

Another garden for children was the Montessori Centenary Children’s Garden designed by Jody Lidgard which had to win the ‘in your face with colour’ award. It was packed with great ideas about growing food, including this edible living wall.

Finally last years Chelsea paid tribute to the 75th anniversary of the 1944 D-Day Landings in Normandy with a commemorative D Day 75 garden designed by John Everiss, set against the Royal Hospice. It was a very strong emotive and moving space, especially with the metal sculptures set in slate and the 10,000  ‘Sea Thrift’ which the troops would have seen on the beaches as they landed.

There might not be a live RHS Chelsea Flower Show this year, but there is a Virtual Chelsea, starting with Members Day today and continuing each day until May 23rd you can find out what’s on by following this link RHS Virtual Chelsea

I will be posting some of my favourite Chelsea gardens and plants this week on my social media accounts and also on another blog post on Wednesday.

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Capturing the Beauty of Plants

In the February issue of Outdoor Photography magazines Holiday & Courses guide, I give my tips for capturing the beauty of plants.

Digital photography holidays, tours, workshops courses to Cambodia, Vietnam USA and landscape photography workshops courses in the UK, Wales, Gower

After 30 years as a professional travel and landscape photographer I have a good understanding of the natural world, having spent many a day bunkered down and immersed in the natural environment with my Mamiya 6×7 camera (pre-digital) waiting for the right light conditions that I wished to capture. So when I was approached to produce photographs of plants for a book 10 years ago, I jumped to the challenge. It led me down a whole new branch of photographic exploration, plant photography.

As with any aspect of photography, after initial trials you find your feet and style. My approach to plant photography really moved on from the initial commission for the book. I am far more interested in the art of plant photography and what makes one photograph really stand out from the others?

There are certain elements that you need to consider when making a great shot.

  • Explore your subject before rushing to photograph it, walk around and see what you are drawn to, see how the light plays on the plant. Think about your composition, how is the subject going to fill the frame? Backlit flowers will always look good if the petals are translucent as it accentuates the colours, giving off a luminescence and showing off the patterns. Don`t be afraid to try out different angles, getting down to the same height as the plant is very effective, or look up to flowers from below them.

plant and Flower photography workshops courses with Stephen Studd of Digital Photography holidays

  • Time of day is an important consideration when taking your photographs. Harsh midday sun makes most subjects look unflattering. Early morning or late afternoon are the best times of day as the light is warmer, less harsh and the colours of the plants look richer.

Iris close up

Mornings also tend to be less windy, flowers are hard to photograph when they are moving around too much. Windy days are the toughest to photograph flowers on, unless you choose to use the blur creatively with a slower shutter speed.

  • Weather conditions are most important. Most people are surprised to hear that overcast days can be very beneficial for plant photography. This is because clouds act as a perfect light diffuser, creating even lighting and saturation without the worry of harsh highlights or shadows.

plant and Flower photography workshops courses with Stephen Studd of Digital Photography holidays

  • The background of your photograph needs consideration as untidy, busy, cluttered backgrounds kill a shot as the viewers eye gets distracted away from the subject. If there are shadows use them to make the subject stand out, or move in closer to the subject with a tight crop.

Dahlia "Bobby Dazzler"

  • For close ups I would always recommend the use of a tripod, they allow you to frame the plant perfectly and keep the image sharp. Also, look at the flower you are photographing to make sure it is free of blemishes or missing petals.

plant and Flower photography workshops courses with Stephen Studd of Digital Photography holidays

Experiment and have fun, try out new angles, backgrounds and processes you might be surprised with the results you obtain capturing the beauty of plants.



Flower photography workshops can be found on my website www.stephenstuddphotography.com

Photography holidays & courses to Cambodia,  Vietnam, Marrakech the USA and the Gower, can be found on my website www.digitalphotographyholidays.com
‘May the light be with you’

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IGPOTY – Flowering Agave – behind the photo

Pleased that I have been Highly Commended in this years International Garden Photographer of the Year competition, in the wildflower landscapes category with this shot taken at the Grand Canyon in the late afternoon.

Grand Canyon National Park USA IGPOTY Stephen Studd Wildflower landscapes

After I had driven to an observation point I went for a look around the area to see where the late afternoon light was hitting for a landscape photograph.

On top of a steep rocky outcrop I saw the small agave plant with the tall yellow flower head shining brightly in the sun that was hitting it. I immediately thought that it would be a great image to take for the IGPOTY competition. There was a fair bit of cloud around so I had to move quickly as it looked like the sun would disappear behind a cloud at any moment, plus the nearest rocky outcrop was starting to go in to shadow.

Setting up my Canon 6D camera as quickly as I could on top of my Manfrotto tripod, I waited until the sun was at the base of the Agave whilst still lighting up the flower head. I had positioned the camera so the flower head sat in the shadow of the background of the Grand Canyon between the two sections that had sunlight on them, that way the flower head would really shine out of the shadow. I also chose to take the image in portrait orientation as I liked the tall flower head against the backdrop of the vertical cliffs, emphasising the height of the Grand Canyon against a moody looking sky.

As my camera was on the tripod I could keep the ISO down at 100, I set the aperture at f22 as I wanted a very large depth of field with the flower head in focus to the furthest point you can see in the distance which is more than 70 miles away. I also used a 0.6ND soft graduated filter to keep all the detail in the clouds.

Within 5 minutes the scene was over as the sun disappeared behind the clouds.

If you get a chance to see the IGPOTY exhibition at Kew I would thoroughly recommend a trip to see it. Not only will you get to see the beautiful exhibition and prints, but also the very inspirational grounds and plants at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, London.


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Kinetic Musical Troughs and Colour – a glance back at RHS Chelsea 2017.

Photographer: Stephen Studd  -  Beneath A Mexican Sky garden,Taking my first peek at the show last year on the Sunday before press day,  Manoj Malde’s ‘Beneath a Mexican Sky’ garden stopped me in my tracks with it’s in your face bold use of colour. Having spent some time in Mexico myself I know that Mexicans are not shy of using colour.

Manoj’s garden had a quiet, relaxed feeling to it and had one of my favourite plants Agave Americana, showing the blue green colours against the orange wall and turquoise water feature.

Photographer: Stephen Studd  -  Beneath A Mexican Sky garden,

Walking around taking in the show gardens I noticed that there seemed to be a predominant colour palette of reds, oranges and yellows coming through, as seen here in Charlotte Harris’s RBC Garden with planting of Aquilegia canadensis with Zizia aurea.Photographer: Stephen Studd, The Royal Bank of Canada Garden,  D

The Hagakure Hidden Leaves garden designed by Shuko Noda was framed in red, picturing another tranquil, peaceful and calming space._MG_8459

As a professional garden photographer at Chelsea, I know that one of the hardest spots for a garden designer to fill is the one that Laurie Chetwood and Patrick Collins ‘The Silk Road’ garden filled dramatically and really showcased the colour scheme of yellows, reds and oranges in such a large scale._MG_8674The Viking Cruises ‘Garden of Inspiration’ by Sarah Eberle had bright vivid mosaics and of course the orange tree to take you straight to the Med._MG_8464The Breast Cancer Now Garden: Through the Microscope designed by Ruth Willmott_MG_8611used the colour palette of oranges, reds and yellows to great effect._MG_8613

A new feature at the show in 2017 were the BBC Radio 2 Feel Good Gardens, which were designed to uplift the senses and encourage people to lose themselves in the sights, scents, sounds, flavours and textures.

The Zoe Ball Listening Garden, designed by Skipper of the light fandango, James Alexander-Sinclair was another show stopper with the kinetic musical troughs. They were mesmerizing, just watching the sound waves ripple on the water and seeing what patterns they produced _MG_8504with the occasional splash from deep bass sound, a novel idea well executed._MG_8507The Anneka Rice ‘Colour Cutting’ garden designed by Sarah Raven was a colourful garden which had a lovely retro, nostalgic feel to it._MG_8731

The garden was a riot of colour which was blended together with great talent._MG_9075

As an allotment holder, the Chris Evans ‘Taste Garden’ designed by Jon Wheatley, reminded me of visits as a young child to my Uncle Harry’s garden in Ipswich, whilst giving me allotment envy.Photographer: Stephen Studd - The BBC Radio 2 Chris Evans Taste Garden garden, from right to left: Cabbage 'Red Jewel, Kale 'Reflex' Kale 'Redbor', lettuce 'Red Iceberg', Leek 'Cumbria', with nasturtium 'Tall mixed', sweetcorn 'Sundance', runner bean 'StThe vegetable garden also reflected the warm colours of reds and bronzes.Photographer: Stephen Studd  -  The BBC Radio 2 Chris Evans Taste Garden garden, Lettuce from right to left, 'Red Iceberg', 'Nymans', 'Lettony', Designer: Jon Wheatley

The Jeremy Vine ‘Texture Garden’ designed by Matt Keightley had so many great design ideas packed in to a small space, wow what a wall that was and great use of oversized irregular-shaped paving stones that created a feeling of space.Photographer: Stephen Studd  -  The BBC Radio 2 Jeremy Vine Texture Garden, Stone path over pond, concrete wall inlaid with moss balls, Acer Griseum, Euphorbia 'Fens Ruby',  Euphorbia 'Whistleberry Garnet',  Cirsium rivulare 'Atropurpureum', Stipa tenuiMatt’s sumptuous planting truly showcased beautiful flower, grass and conifer plant combinations alike.

Photographer: Stephen Studd  -  The BBC Radio 2 Jeremy Vine Texture Garden, Acer Griseum, Prunus serrula, Iris germanica 'Kent Pride', Cirsium rivulare 'Atropurpureum', Pinus mugo 'Mughus', Pinus mugo 'Pumilio', Stipa tenuissima, Calamagrostis x acutifl
Prunus serrula, Iris germanica ‘Kent Pride’, Cirsium rivulare ‘Atropurpureum’, Pinus mugo ‘Mughus’ & ‘Pumilio’, Stipa tenuissima, Calamagrostis x acutiflora ‘Karl Foerster’, Calamagrostis brachytricha, Melica altissima ‘Alba’, Pimpinella major ‘Rosea’, Foeniculum vulgare ‘Giant Bronze’

His garden really stood out with the combination of textures in it and coppery red tones with the grasses catching the sunlight transforming their colours whilst waving gently in the wind.Photographer: Stephen Studd  -  The BBC Radio 2 Jeremy Vine Texture Garden, Verbascum 'Firedance', Iris germanica 'Kent Pride', Stipa tenuissima, Cirsium rivulare 'Atropurpureum', Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster', Calamagrostis brachytricha, M

Copper was used to great effect in Charlotte Harriss’s garden with the patinated copper pavilion._MG_8744

The sunrise light on the Breaking Ground garden, designed by Andrew Wilson and Gavin McWilliam had a striking copper wall and Stipa gigantean and other grasses again absorbing the warm morning light.Photographer: Stephen Studd - The Breaking Ground Garden, Sunrise over the garden, Stipa gigantica, Melica altissima 'Alba', Salvia nemorosa 'Caradonna', Salvia greggii 'Nachtvlinder', Verbascum phoeniculum 'Violetta', Pimpinella major 'Rosea', Designer:

Finally the RHS ‘Greening Grey Britain‘ garden designed by Professor Nigel Dunnett was brimming full of take away ideas. The living roof over the wheelie bins, growing herbs and edibles was a great idea, even down to the wooden legs with drilled holes for solitary insects._MG_9143-EditThe very contemporary urban garden showcased the principles of sustainable rainwater management, with naturalistic informal planting set against the strong shapes and forms of the paths and hard surfaces. Greening Grey Britain Garden Nigel Dunnett RHS Chelsea Flower ShThe RHS ‘Greening Grey Britain‘ campaign is addressing the fact that we are paving over the UK, which is harmful to wildlife and is damaging to the nation’s health, whilst putting homes at more risk from flooding. Working with communities to transform neglected spaces into beautiful ones, researching about plants that can make the most difference to the environment and showcasing inspirational gardening at their shows and gardens. These spaces at the shows are always inspirational as they are achievable in our own spaces, no matter how small they are, helping everyonewith ideas to “get Greening Grey Britain, one plant at a time.”  _MG_8436

With the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018 countdown on, I look forward to seeing the new trends in garden design at the show this year.Photographer: Stephen Studd  -  The BBC Radio 2 Jeremy Vine Texture Garden, sun reflected in small pond, Verbascum 'Firedance', Pinus mugo, Stipa tenuissima, Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster', Calamagrostis brachytricha, Melica altissima 'Alba'


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Macro Art – IGPOTY

The photograph I entered for the International Garden Photographer of the Year competition won 1st place in the Macro Art category. The exhibition of all winning entries from each category of the competition is presently on at Kew Gardens until March 11th. After this it will tour to various venues in the UK and The Netherlands, Gibraltar, Portugal, Spain and Germany.

Giant Carrot
Giant Carrot – 1st Place IGPOTY Macro Art

My photograph is also gracing the front cover of the Edition 11 book.

The exhibition and book showcases the winners and best entries with inspirational images of beautiful flowers, wildflower landscapes, nature and wildlife, still life of macro/plant portrait photography.

macro art photography workshop with stephen studd photographer IGPOTY front cover collection 11 International Garden Photographer of the Year 2017 2018

The photograph was taken at the Malvern Autumn show where they host the UK National Giant Vegetables Championship, all sorts of vegetables are on display as part of the competition.

People at the show were photographing the whole size of the giant veg, but to me the oversized veg look rather grotesque and  not photogenic. This made me think outside the box as a photographer and look at the subjects and interpret them in a different way, as on closer inspection they reveal patterns that are not usually seen on ordinary sized veg. I decided to produce a series of abstract images of the giant veg instead.

When I teach my photography workshops, I always talk about what is the ‘end use’ of the images you take, for these it is a series of fine art framed abstract photographs. For this set I used a Canon EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro lens to focus in close to the vegetables I photographed.

Each giant veg I photographed revealed their own unique abstract patterns as can be seen in the very small selection from the series below. Can you guess what any of them are?

onion

_R4D6207

Pumpkin

The judging panel for IGPOTY said: “Stephen’s image has emphatically answered the brief by executing a simple idea extremely well. We get lost in the extraordinary shapes, colours and textures of the carrot, which is anything but the ordinary vegetable we think we are so well accustomed with.”

Congratulations to all the other entries from the competition which can be found here: IGPOTY Macro Art

My website is: http://www.stephenstuddphotography.com


WORKSHOPS:

I am hosting two flower photography workshops in June & July in the UK at Hampshire Carnivorous Plants & The Cottage Herbery, plus Bluebell photography workshops in April

I also run travel and landscape photography holidays and tours in Cambodia, Burma, Vietnam the USA & UK. Please visit the website for full itineraries and dates of tours: www.digitalphotographyholidays.com

STAY CONNECTED:
Facebook: Stephen Studd Photography
Instagram: @stephenstuddphotography
Twitter: @StephensPhotos
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Step Inside the Quarry Garden at RHS Chatsworth

This year was the very first RHS Flower Show set in the beautiful grounds of Chatsworth House in Derbyshire. Paul Hervey-Brookes designed the Quarry Garden for the Institute of Quarrying, which celebrates it’s centenary this year.

Paul Hervey-Brookes landscape garden designer, Chatsworth RHS Flower Show 2017,  IQ Quarry Garden, Gold medal, Best in Show and Best Construction, Photography by Stephen Studd photographer for Paul Hervey-Brookes Associates,   11 Lansdown, Stroud, Glouces

The garden won a well deserved RHS Gold Medal and also won Best Show Garden & Best Construction. The commissioned “Passing Light” steel and stone wall was designed by Stroud based sculptor Ann Margreth Bohl.

 

Paul Hervey-Brookes landscape garden designer, Chatsworth RHS Flower Show 2017,  IQ Quarry Garden, Gold medal, Best in Show and Best Construction, Photography by Stephen Studd photographer for Paul Hervey-Brookes Associates,  11 Lansdown, Stroud, Glouces
Paul Hervey-Brookes, winning Gold & Best in Show, with Gareth Wilson with Best Construction award at RHS Chatsworth Flower Show.

The gardens influence was the life cycle of a quarry, with the owners having just built a modern house who are themselves influenced by Brutalist architecture.

Paul Hervey-Brookes landscape garden designer, Chatsworth RHS Flower Show 2017,  IQ Quarry Garden, Gold medal, Best in Show and Best Construction, Photography by Stephen Studd photographer for Paul Hervey-Brookes Associates,   11 Lansdown, Stroud, Glouces

The main water feature in the garden reminded me of visits to old quarries which were at one point an influence in my own landscape photography. The garden also made use of the sweeping Capability Brown landscape of Chatsworth House.

Paul Hervey-Brookes landscape garden designer, Chatsworth RHS Flower Show 2017,  IQ Quarry Garden, Gold medal, Best in Show and Best Construction, Photography by Stephen Studd photographer for Paul Hervey-Brookes Associates,   11 Lansdown, Stroud, Glouces

The rusted steel colours were picked up in the planting

Paul Hervey-Brookes landscape garden designer, Chatsworth RHS Flower Show 2017,  IQ Quarry Garden, Gold medal, Best in Show and Best Construction, Photography by Stephen Studd photographer for Paul Hervey-Brookes Associates,   11 Lansdown, Stroud, Glouces

and use of stone boulders in the design.

Paul Hervey-Brookes landscape garden designer, Chatsworth RHS Flower Show 2017,  IQ Quarry Garden, Gold medal, Best in Show and Best Construction, Photography by Stephen Studd photographer for Paul Hervey-Brookes Associates,   11 Lansdown, Stroud, Glouces

The garden was divided into different zones,

Paul Hervey-Brookes landscape garden designer, Chatsworth RHS Flower Show 2017,  IQ Quarry Garden, Gold medal, Best in Show and Best Construction, Photography by Stephen Studd photographer for Paul Hervey-Brookes Associates,   11 Lansdown, Stroud, Glouces

which worked well visually in such a large scale garden. It was truly a garden you could get lost in time watching the light bounce around during the days and seasons, especially from the hidden corners.

Paul Hervey-Brookes landscape garden designer, Chatsworth RHS Flower Show 2017,  IQ Quarry Garden, Gold medal, Best in Show and Best Construction, Photography by Stephen Studd photographer for Paul Hervey-Brookes Associates,   11 Lansdown, Stroud, Glouces

Paul’s planting palette was exquisite.Paul Hervey-Brookes landscape garden designer, Chatsworth RHS Flower Show 2017,  IQ Quarry Garden, Gold medal, Best in Show and Best Construction, Photography by Stephen Studd photographer for Paul Hervey-Brookes Associates,   11 Lansdown, Stroud, Glouces

Paul Hervey-Brookes landscape garden designer, Chatsworth RHS Flower Show 2017,  IQ Quarry Garden, Gold medal, Best in Show and Best Construction, Photography by Stephen Studd photographer for Paul Hervey-Brookes Associates,   11 Lansdown, Stroud, Glouces

The trio of awards were well justified for a garden of such immense scale at the inaugural Chatsworth House RHS Flower Show.

Paul Hervey-Brookes landscape garden designer, Chatsworth RHS Flower Show 2017,  IQ Quarry Garden, Gold medal, Best in Show and Best Construction, Photography by Stephen Studd photographer for Paul Hervey-Brookes Associates,   11 Lansdown, Stroud, Glouces

Paul has also designed the Viking Cruises World of Discovery garden which can be seen at Hampton Court Flower Show, which runs from July 4th – 9th July 2017

Paul Hervey-Brookes website: www.paulherveybrookes.com/

Gareth Wilson Landscape Services Ltd: http://www.gkwilsonlandscaping.co.uk/

Stephen Studd Photography: www.stephenstuddphotography.com

Ann Margreth Bohl: www.annmargrethbohl.com

Institute of Quarrying: www.quarrygarden.org

Stay Connected:
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StephenStuddPhotography
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@StephensPhotos
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+Stephenstuddphotography

 

 

 

 

Flower photography workshops

Great to see my flower photography workshops were featured in the Sunday Times.

Bluebell woods flower photography workshopsin Gloucestershire UK England garlic woods Stroud hosted by Stephen Studd photography

 

This spring I have some bluebell woods

Bluebells flower photography workshop and courses in the UK England, Forest of Dean Gloucestershire digital photography holidays tours workshops holidays vacations

 

and wild garlic woods

flower photography workshops Wild Garlic (Ramsons) in wood Stroud Gloucestershire Digital photography holidays courses tours workshops

photography workshops in the Forest  of Dean  and Stroud, Gloucestershire. Full details can be found on my website: www.stephenstuddphotography.com

Sunday Times article by Wellywoman blog


Keep in touch:

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Marrakech, Morocco Best Travel Destination 2015

Travellers Choice on Trip Advisor has voted Marrakech the top destination in the world to visit .

digital photography holidays holiday tour tours workshop workshops to Marrakech Morocco, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma Asia hosted by Stephen Studd
Marrakech, Jemaa el Fna sunset

It is easy to see why, just 3 hours flight from the UK and you are transported to a city that for me, as a travel and garden photographer, has such a rich tapestry to photograph. No visit to Marrakech is complete without a visit to the main Jemaa el Fna square, a cocophony of noise from snake charmers to drummers with the smell of spices and food being cooked for locals and visitors from far and wide.

One of my favourite street food stalls in Jemaa el Fna is Chez Hassan, number 32. You can’t miss it, just look for the one creating the most steam and smoke as the best Merguez sausages in town sizzle on the griddle, be patient as it’s hard to get a seat as this is a firm favourite with the locals.

digital travel photography holidays tours workshops to Marrakech Morocco, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma Asia hosted by Stephen Studd
Chez Hassan, number 32

Of course there is much more to Marrakech than the main square. The nearby Koutoubia mosque dominates the skyline and is a favourite location of mine for photography.

digital travel photography holidays tours workshops to Marrakech Morocco, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma Asia hosted by Stephen Studd Koutoubia mosque
Woman walking in front of the Koutoubia mosque

The souks and narrow winding alleyways of the old Medina always come up with travel photography gems. Getting to find your way around can be very tricky, fortunately after photographing here over the years I know my way around the maze like labyrinthian narrow streets.

digital travel photography holidays tours workshops to Marrakech Morocco, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma Asia hosted by Stephen Studd medina
Man with donkey cart, old Medina, Marrakech

There are so many great backdrops for photographs in the old Medina. I am always on the lookout for a good background for a photograph. One of the skills of travel photography is to observe the movement of people in a particular location and see when the best light hits the scene. Once you have found a location with good light and movement of people, a trick I employ is to frame my scene with the camera on a tripod with a remote shutter release. When a person comes through the scene I’ve framed they don’t have the same reaction as if I had the camera up to my eye. I tend to even look away when they appear as if I’m not even taking a photograph, it’s a trick that works for me, resulting in natural looking images with people.

digital travel photography holidays tours workshops to Marrakech Morocco, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma Asia hosted by Stephen Studd cyclist medina
Cyclist in the old quarter of Marrakech

In the old Medina I love the crumbling coloured walls, there always seems to be a good prop set against them.

digital travel photography holidays tours workshops to Marrakech Morocco, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma Asia hosted by Stephen Studd bicycle medina
Bicycle, Medina

The Medina is home to many artisans located in their own areas. The tannery district is only for those that can bear the stench, but a fascinating place to photograph.

digital travel photography holidays tours workshops to Marrakech Morocco, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma Asia hosted by Stephen Studd tannery district
Tannery district

Other favourite areas are the wool dyers district.

digital travel photography holidays tours workshops to Marrakech Morocco, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma Asia hosted by Stephen Studd wool dyers district
Wool dyers district

and the metal work district.

digital travel photography holidays tours workshops to Marrakech Morocco, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma Asia hosted by Stephen Studd metal workers district
Metal workers district

If you are in this area be sure to check out the Museum of Photography to see some amazing photography from Morocco spanning a number of decades. The place also has a great rooftop café with views over the sprawling city and Atlas mountains.

A great escape from the hustle and bustle of the old Medina is to go and visit the iconic Jardin Majorelle, a feast for the lens with its cobalt blue walls, colourful containers and collections of cacti and bamboos. The garden was restored by Yves Saint Laurent and there is a memorial to him in the garden.

digital travel photography holidays tours workshops to Marrakech Morocco, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma Asia hosted by Stephen Studd Jardin Majorelle
Jardin Majorelle – Yves Saint Laurent garden

Spend some time here, there is plenty to photograph, you can also get one of the best Moroccan breakfasts in Marrakech in the courtyard garden.

digital travel photography holidays tours workshops to Marrakech Morocco, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma Asia hosted by Stephen Studd Jardin Majorelle
Jardin Majorelle, ‘Kalanchoe Beharensis’

Be sure to look out for those hidden corners too.

digital travel photography holidays tours workshops to Marrakech Morocco, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma Asia hosted by Stephen Studd Jardin Majorelle
Jardin Majorelle

If you want to escape the city altogether the Atlas mountains are only a short distance away with its Berber villages and slower pace of life.

digital travel photography holidays tours workshops to Marrakech Morocco, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma Asia hosted by Stephen Studd Atlas mountains
Atlas mountains

digital travel photography holidays tours workshops to Marrakech Morocco, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma Asia hosted by Stephen Studd Atlas mountains
Atlas mountains

Back in Marrakech there are numerous souks to get lost in, my favourite is the spices souk.

digital travel photography holidays tours workshops to Marrakech Morocco, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma Asia hosted by Stephen Studd spices souk
Spices souk

It’s worth while weaving your way around the maze like souk to see what you stumble upon.

digital travel photography holidays tours workshops to Marrakech Morocco, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma Asia hosted by Stephen Studd souk
Marrakech Souk

I love exploring the quieter areas off the beaten track, you just never know what you are going to encounter around each corner.

digital travel photography holidays tours workshops to Marrakech Morocco, Vietnam, Cambodia, Burma Asia hosted by Stephen Studd man with fez hat
Marrakech man in traditional djellaba and fez hat

Other places of interest for photography are the various Palaces and the Ben Youssef Madrasa, a favourite place with my guests on the travel photography city break I run there each year.

North Africa, Morocco, Marrakech, Marrakesh, Digital photography holidays and tours to Morocco, Marrakech Ben Youssef Madrasa
Ben Youssef Madrasa

An alluring appeal that keeps me coming back to Marrakech is the light and the African sunsets you get there. Perch yourself on one of the numerous cafes in the main square, get yourself a Moroccan mint tea and a tajine, watch the place come alive as the sun sets, and enjoy the feast for all the senses. Yes the billowing smoke you can see in the shot below is coming from Chez Hassan.

Jemaa el Fna and Koutoubia mosque, sunset
Jemaa el Fna and Koutoubia mosque, sunset

You can join me on a 5 day travel photography city break to Marrakech in September 2016, with an optional photography excursion up in to the Atlas mountains where we have a traditional Berber lunch on my Berber friend CoCo’s roof terrace.

Full details can be found on my travel photography holidays website: www.digitalphotographyholidays.com

Newsletter subscribers receive special offers throughout the year on my travel photography holiday and landscape photography workshops, you can subscribe here


Keep in touch:

Websites:

My travel photography holidays & UK photography workshops website: www.digitalphotographyholidays.com

My travel and garden photography website: www.stephenstuddphotography.com


Social Media:

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/DigitalPhotographyHolidays

https://www.facebook.com/stephenstuddphotography

Instagram: https://instagram.com/stephenstuddphotography/

Twitter

www.twitter.com/PhotographyHols

www.twitter.com/StephensPhotos

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