White flowers with dark purple centre patches
England,  Flowers,  Gardens,  The Changing Seasons

Gallery: a July selection

If I had my way, I’d remove January from the calendar altogether and have an extra July instead

Roald Dahl

I’m not sure I agree with Roald. Do away with January by all means but if I’m going to get to duplicate a month I will pick May or September over July. Which is not to say I don’t like this month, simply that it isn’t my favourite!

But there has been much to like about this past July, which was bookended with special celebrations. It started wonderfully with my nephew’s lovely wedding, so I now have a new niece-in-law. And finished with a double birthday party hosted by friends who both turn 60 this year, which they dubbed a 120th birthday party! That gave us an excuse to spend the last weekend of the month in Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, enjoying the big skies of the fens and exploring a couple of nature reserves.

In between were the challenges of the hottest day our country has ever seen, reaching 41C in several places. A good friend lost her home when it was destroyed by a fire ignited by the heat. And this was in suburban London, not in a forest or on a dry heath!

But even in the heat there were delights. Flowers were blooming in our small garden (for which all the credit goes to my husband) and in local parks. We had some pub lunches and on less hot days enjoyed a trip to the cinema and a walk along the Thames in central London.

Technical notes

This month I had a new camera to play with. My old Panasonic Lumix, much as I loved it, was starting to frustrate me as the zoom had developed an annoying habit of suddenly retracting as I was about to take a shot. I couldn’t replace like for like, as that model was no longer available, so I found myself having to either slightly reduce the spec or somewhat increase it. You can guess which I chose! So I am now the happy owner of a new FZ330 and am learning all about its added features and altered settings etc. Most of the flower shots below, and those in Norfolk, were taken with this camera. But I’m still tending to use my compact point and shoot Lumix for trips up to London and similar outings.

Again as usual, I’ve enjoyed playing around with some of these shots, using mostly Nik Color Efex. And as always I am linking my photography highlights to Ju-Lyn and Brian’s Changing Seasons challenge.

  • Bridge and groom in soft focus
  • Pale rose and smaller flowers
  • Classical statue in a niche on a brick wall
  • Close-up of a pink flower
  • Single red poppy, blurred background
  • Close up of a blue flower and fern-like leaves
  • Small drop-like flowers
  • Green bird eating fruit in a tree
  • Close up of peeling copper coloured tree bark
  • Head of a statue with a pigeon on it
  • Sculpture of large red hand with domed building behind
  • Three small children on a shingle shore
  • Close up of blue/mauve flowers
  • Spiky flower head
  • Bee on a white flowerhead with tiny flowers
  • View across a small lake and fields towards a large cathedral

The agapanthus in the slide show was a July star in our garden and I documented it opening in a series of photos while testing out the new camera. Here are just three of them (on a loop).

44 Comments

  • Ju-Lyn

    What a quote to begin with! I love it! But like you, I wouldn’t pick July either … after all, I like January just fine (even in London – which is where we used to spend the winter months every other year until The Big C hit).

    The agapanthus is such a fascinating flower … love seeing it in various stages of bloom!

    It has been a crazy weather month for so many places around the world – it must be so horrific to hear of friends (and folks in general) suffering from the extreme heat! Some of it is just unbelievable!

    Love the captures of the wedding (we need happy images like these more) and the children playing by the river (a reminder to return to carefree days) and the Southbank sculpture (so eyecatching!). Very happy to have you at The Changing Seasons!

  • Annie Berger

    More brilliant photos, Sarah. 41 would have seemed an unimaginable temperature not tooo long ago in England – how sad for your friends to bear the result of such overwhelming heat.

  • rkrontheroad

    The floral closeups are stunning! Sorry to hear about your friend’s fire loss; what a traumatic experience that must have been and still is. Ignited by the heat? I suppose that could happen anywhere…? Fire danger is something I worry about when things are dry where I live. We’ve had more rain in the afternoons this summer, but I know the drought will be back.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you Ruth 🙂 That fire seems to have started in a pile of very dry grass cuttings that overheated and self-ignited. From that pile it spread so quickly it destroyed around 14 homes I believe 😥

  • Oh, the Places We See

    Lovely photos, for sure. I know you’re enjoying playing with your “new” toy, and it shows that you know how to work it to the fullest. Wishing you more good days ahead with many photo-ops.

  • justbluedutch

    Oh Sarah, I am a huge fan of your photography! your flower gallery is really amazing…and yes, your July is woerthy to be posted here.
    Congrats with the new camera!

  • Margaret

    Stunning photographs Sarah, the difference in sharpness is really noticeable. I agree about July, my favourite months are in Spring and Autumn. We visited Norfolk and Cambridgeshire recently too – very enjoyable. Sorry to hear about your friends’ fire, heartbreaking. The urgency of heeding the wake up call is upon us all.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you Margaret 🙂 Any difference in sharpness is due to me using the bridge camera more and the ‘point and shoot’ less, as the lens on this one is the same as my old one! But you’re so right about that wake up call.

  • wetanddustyroads

    Your flower shots are so pretty – I especially like the wedding roses and the close up of the agapanthus (and how it ‘unfolds’). Oh, and please don’t delete January … it’s my birthday month!!

  • bushboy

    Your hubby grows a great garden Sarah, Your photos do him well. Love the rose, teasel, parakeet, the bee and the fuchsias. Doing a change of the Agapanthus is brilliant. A fabulous Changing Season. Thanks for joining in 🙂 🙂

  • maristravels

    Your photos are amazing, as always, and I love the agapanthus and am cross that I didn’t think of doing that. Mine have been especially good this year and now they are dying and I didn’t even think to photograph them in their glory. Mind you, I had family here for most of the month so I’ve got a lot of family pix to sort through now, mostly of the young ones. Hope your friend is coping with the trauma of losing her home, it will take time for her to come to grips with what’s happened i imagine.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Sounds like you had enough to keep you occupied without worrying about flower photos Mari – and there’s always next year! Ours have been good this summer and are still blooming happily 🙂

  • Sue

    Sorry to hear about your friends’ house, and hope they’re managing OK. As to your images, LOVE the teasel, bee, poppy, bark etc! You’ve had quite a month….

  • Mike and Kellye Hefner

    Sarah, I think that new camera might just be working out for you! The agapanthus is stunning, as are the rest of your shots. So sorry about your friend’s house and the heat wave over there. We are having one too and not a drop of rain. Have a great week!:)

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Yes, the new camera is very good, as I knew it would be (it’s my third Lumix) – I just need to get used to where they’ve moved some of the settings and added new features! Glad you liked the photos 🙂

  • Alli Templeton

    Superb pictures all, Sarah. Love the parakeet, and the flowers are stunning. I’d have to disagree with Roald Dahl as well, as I was born in January!

    I saw those images of people’s houses in flames in the heat, and I hope your friend is ok after what must have been a highly traumatic experience. I think this year, more than any other, nature has given us a stark warning that humanity needs to change it’s ways sharpish and respect her if we are to survive many more generations. We found the hottest days very hard to cope with and it should have been a wake-up call to us all.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you Alli. My friend and her partner are coping remarkably well considering they lost just about everything. The one good thing is that they had insurance that will cover the cost of starting again, and the costs for temporary housing meanwhile, but no insurance can replace your personal treasures. All they had time to save was their animals (cats and chickens) and themselves. I agree, this should be a wake-up call – but humanity hasn’t traditionally been too good at heeding those over the years, unfortunately.

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