Weekly Photo Challenge – Eye Spy a Butterfly’s Eye

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The Weekly Photo Challenge – ‘Eye Spy’ – A Butterfly’s eye is a wonderful creation, their spherical compound eyes with almost 360 degree vision are able to detect threats from behind at the same time as focusing on nectar probing. Predators and camera wielding humans are all to be avoided. In common with many other insects, each eye comprises of up to 17,000 ommatidia – individual light receptors with their own microscopic lenses. Surrounding the eye and extending through the body are long hair like scales which give a furry appearance.


In late July and August our favourite spot to observe Chalk Hill Blues is Sharpenhoe Clappers, in the Chiltern Hills, managed by the National Trust, just a few miles from home. This species of Blue Butterfly is only found in the UK on southern Chalk Grassland Hills. The adults prefer a sunny sheltered south-facing spot for nectaring and roosting. Although this little Butterfly is not endangered, its habitat is diminishing. The caterpillars sole food plant is Horseshoe Vetch, only found growing on chalk grassland.

Roosting Male Chalk Hill Blue

Roosting Male Chalk Hill Blue

Sitting patiently waiting for Butterflies to land nearby and then staying to watch the sun go down with roosting Chalk Hill Blues alongside is quite a magical experience.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Ornate – Hall of the Two Sisters, Alhambra, Spain.

Stucco decoration

Arch leading to the Sala de dos Hermanas – Hall of the Two Sisters with ornate Stucco decoration

The weekly photo challenge – Ornate, reminded me of our early June visit to the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. Our first visit to the Nasrid Palaces and the Generalife. We had travelled to see the incredibly beautiful gardens. The intense heat slowed down our progress and forced us to shelter within the palace rooms and appreciate the extraordinary ornate stucco detail, decorating walls, arches and pillars extending to ceilings inside many of the rooms.

The Arch shown here leads to the entrance of the Sala de dos Hermanas – Hall of the Two Sisters, so called because of two large marble flagstones within the floor. The Sultana would have lived here with her family.

Fallen Hornbeams

There is a Hornbeam lined wide path which leads through our local wood. Workers from our village used the route to reach the next village and the Wrest Park estate, where Capability Brown had a hand in landscaping the grounds. Once owned by the de Grey family, the house and estate are now in the care of English Heritage.

Fallen Hornbeams

Fallen Hornbeams

The wood was sold off and a bypass built and is unconnected from the estate now. Its rarely managed by the current owners. Broken, splintered trees, fall and are left to nature but in the Autumn the route is especially beautiful.

Veteran Hornbeams - Warren Woods, Bedfordshire

Veteran Hornbeams – Warren Woods, Bedfordshire

Please take a look at other folk interpretations of this weeks photo challenge Broken.


Enveloped at Wisley

This weeks photo challenge is Envelope. I hadn’t planned to take part and then under the shade of a Laburnocytisus ‘Adamii’ at Wisley today, I watched several species of Bumblebee dip in and out of the Laburnam racemes, enveloped by the mostly yellow flowers. As this Laburnam is a horticultural curiosity, there are pink flowers too.

Laburnhamcytisus 'Adamii'

Laburnocytisus ‘Adamii’

Laburnocytisus ‘Adamii’ is a graft-hybrid between Laburnham and Purple Broom. The tree at Wisley caught my eye as from a distance I thought a clematis was running through it and then up close could see the pink flowers were a part of the tree too.


Enveloped by Laburnam racemes Bumblebee heavily laden with pollen

There was much to see at Wisley in the sunshine today, hopefully the rain due at Chelsea this coming week will be kinder than forecast.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Reward – Visiting the Garden of Ninfa

Its easy to fall in love with this wonderful romantic garden but the reward of finally visiting and experiencing breath taking joy is something I will never forget.

Roses in the Garden of Ninfa

Roses in the Garden of Ninfa

For this weeks challenge, I thought of the long walks, cycle rides, hills and the odd mountain we had climbed to stretch our bodies and be rewarded by spectacular views but chose visiting the Garden of Ninfa in Italy and finally seeing the crumbling walls covered in Roses as my response to this challenge.

My piece on the Gardens of Ninfa was written shortly after I began blogging and since that time have met many people I would not have met before, who have given me great advice, been extremely kind and who have opened my eyes with some wonderful blogs on so many beautiful plants and places across the world.

Please visit the photo challenge page to see how other folk have responded to the Reward challenge.