Back in July I spent a day at RHS Hyde Hall and have already shared a few posts from there. I seem to have so many photos left to share from my visit though, so I thought as the weather has notched down a degree or two, we could do with some photos from warmer days. Looking back at my photos, I remembered I became slightly obsessed that day by photographing plants from above, and looking down on them.
It's effective for lots of plant types, mostly those with striking lines, like this sea holly for example.
And this lily-like flower. And in case you're wondering the black spots on the petals are insects - it was clearly a popular bloom.
It worked on striking variegated grasses too, and the daisy-like mexican fleabane either side of the grass gives a soft touch. The top down approach didn't really work for some plants though, agapanthus for example, I discovered are best viewed side on. Who knew.
Looking down on the plants I photographed somehow gave more prominence to their structure and form. And it also mean I got the benefit of them against the foliage behind them. Don't you think the green accentuates the silver?
The next few photos are my favourite examples of how photographing a plant from above can really work.
I'm not sure what the plant is below, but the leaves look prickly so maybe it's related to a thistle too. And if you look closely, you'll see an insect on the main flower, I hadn't spotted that when I was so close!
And remember when I first discovered Astrantias on our visit to Bosvigo in Cornwall, well I found them again here at Hyde Hall. I couldn't remember their name on my visit (of course!), but referring back to that blog post gave me the prompt I needed. It's progress, as I knew I knew what they were, just not what they were, if you know what I mean. They're still as delicate and just as pretty as I remember them.
I also found another yellow flower that photographing from the top down worked with. In my excitement at finding it though it seems that I didn't make a note of its name. It looks sunflower-esque but I know that's hardly likely as at just five foot it's highly unlikely I'd be looking down on any sunflower.
I'll concede it might be a miniature version, but maybe it's something else entirely. If you know what my mystery plant is then I'm happy to find out, so please let me know. I've realised though that without looking down on this plant I might now have seen its coffee-bean-like edging at the base of the petals. How exquisite is that?
And the other thing I learnt that day?
Well that's simple. It's sometimes you just have to look at things from a different place to see their beauty anew. That turned out to be more profound than I expected it to, but I think there's something in that, don't you?