When Fashion and Nature Collide – Flowers June 2018.

This is my June 2018 contribution to our special project: When Fashion and Nature Collide

These flowers and Roda’s critter photos have provided the inspiration for Dominique‘s styling and Lisa’s art this month. Please go and visit their own blogs and see their posts. Collages used here were prepared by Roda. Above cartoon by Lisa.

Photo Jun 08, 4 16 30 PM

 Fashion Inspiration by 3C Style, Photography of 3C Style by Marie-Claude Viola, Makeup by Emmanuelle Rochefort, T-Shirt art by Lisa & design by 3C Style, Bee Photo by Roda, Flower photography by Darren, collage compiled by Roda. T-Shirt art copyright Lisa Lawrence & design copyright Dominique Nancy – 3C Style, 2018.

Like the T-Shirt? Stay tuned for an update on how you can purchase this incredible T-shirt and other great products, too!

Bee Orchids.

The ‘Bee’ orchids, Ophrys, are a European genus, centred on Mediterranean Europe but with a few species reaching the UK. The ‘bee orchid’ name is a fairly obvious one as the lip of the flowers resemble bees. This is no coincidence as their pollination is carried out by male bees attempting to copulate with the flower and carrying pollen with them to the next flower.

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Ophrys lutea/sicula

Ophrys lutea is part of a group of Mediterranean species which are closely related and intergrade with each other to the point where they all get lumped together as one super-species. The differences are primarily to do with the width of the yellow band around the flower lip

Ophrys apifera

Ophrys apifera is native to the UK. It is a great coloniser of disturbed and poor soils such as old gravel workings or roadsides and even lawns. This picture was taken on the roadside outside my building at work, where I can also see a common spotted orchid this week – or at least I could until the day after I drafted this then university estates mowed the grass! Vandals. Outside the Environment Centre!

Ophrys are increasingly available grown from seed by specialist nurseries in Europe. I have grown them in the past but no longer do so.

Photo Jun 12, 7 57 56 PM

Fashion Inspiration by 3C Style, Photography of 3C Style by Marie-Claude Viola, Makeup by Emmanuelle Rochefort, Flower photography by Darren, Bee photo by Roda, collage compiled by Roda

Fritillaria tuntasia

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Fritillaria tuntasia is now regarded as a subspecies of the very similar F.obliqua. It is an island form, occurring on the Cyclades Islands, whereas F. obliqua was found on the Greek mainland near Athens where it has been decimated by development.

I find it a very trouble-free plant in cultivation, one of the easier Fritillaria provided it has a dry summer when the bulbs are dormant.

Photo Jun 12, 8 23 57 PM

Fashion Inspiration by 3C Style, Photography of 3C Style by Marie-Claude Viola,Makeup by Emmanuelle Rochefort, Flower photography by Darren, Butterfly photo by Roda, collage compiled by Roda

Fritillaria stenanthera

Photo 24-03-2018, 12 37 21 - copie

This lovely Fritillaria is easily available from specialist bulb suppliers here in the UK. It is native to the mountains of Central Asia where it flowers as the snow melts. This means it flowers very early (March) here in the UK and needs to be grown in a sunny location to prevent it getting leggy in poor light at this time of year.

Photo Jun 08, 3 51 14 PM

Fashion Inspiration by 3C Style, Photography of 3C Style by Marie-Claude Viola, Makeup by Emmanuelle Rochefort Flower photography by Darren, Bee photography by Roda, collage compiled by Roda

Hesperantha vaginata

Photo 14-04-2018, 13 03 19 - copie

A member of the Iris family from South Africa. It occurs on the Bokkeveld plateau where it grows in red clay soils which are wet and sticky in the winter, when the Hesperantha grows, but bakes hard like concrete when the bulbs are dormant in summer. Attempts to mimic this in cultivation are doomed to failure and I actually find it not especially easy to keep happy anyway. This year was a relatively good one. In the wild it is pollinated by Monkey Beetles – rather comical creatures resembling small Scarabs with fur trim. They have evolved a close relationship

Photo Jun 08, 5 04 32 PM

Fashion Inspiration by 3C Style, Photography of 3C Style by Marie-Claude Viola, Makeup by Emmanuelle Rochefort, Flower photography by Darren, collage compiled by Roda

Moraea villosa

Moraea villosa

One of the Peacock Moraeas, just like M. tulbaghensis I talked about last month. It is also native to the western Cape of South Africa. The name ‘villosa’ refers to the hairy leaves. Flower colour is quite variable but is primarily in the blue/mauve/lavender region.

This is not too hard to grow in a frost-free greenhouse but watering is tricky. Too little and the flowers abort, too much and the plants rot. I found last year that flowering is boosted by incorporating a few drops of Liquid Smoke BBQ sauce into the first few waterings in autumn, to simulate summer bushfires.

The extremely rare M.villosa ssp elandsmontana is bright orange and, as far as I can tell, not in cultivation.

Photo Jun 12, 7 34 27 PM

Fashion Inspiration by 3C Style, Photography of 3C Style by Marie-Claude Viola, Makeup by Emmanuelle Rochefort, Flower photography by Darren, collage compiled by Roda

Tree Peony

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This beautiful, scented tree peony came to me with no name and was written about in a previous post. It is one of the cultivars of P. suffruticosa.

Photo Jun 12, 7 49 48 PM

Fashion Inspiration by 3C Style, Photography of 3C Style by Marie-Claude Viola, Makeup by Emmanuelle Rochefort, Flower photography by Darren, collage compiled by Roda

Eranthis pinnatifida and Viola cenisia

Eranthis pinnatifida
IMG_5774 - copie (Match Earrings)
Viola cenisia

Eranthis pinnatifida is basically a white-flowered relative of the commonly grown Winter Aconite of gardens (Eranthis hyemalis). It comes from Japan and also flowers in late winter (usually February with me). It is very cold-hardy but because it is tiny and very tempting to slugs and snails I grow it in a pot in a frame most of the time, but move it into the greenhouse when in flower so that the extra warmth can encourage the flowers to open and I can admire it in comfort. Some years it sets seed and these must be sown immediately and not dried out. The tubers also must not be dried out even when dormant.

Viola cenisia (Mt Cenis Violet (Pansy)). The photo was taken on a scree slope right next to the rail station at Eigergletscher at the head of the Eiger trail in Switzerland. This species is not generally in cultivation and these high altitude pansies are very challenging to grow at low altitudes even when available from alpine plant specialists.

Photo Jun 08, 5 23 19 PM

Fashion Inspiration by 3C Style, Photography of 3C Style by Marie-Claude Viola, Makeup by Emmanuelle Rochefort, Flower photography by Darren, Mantis photography by Roda, collage compiled by Roda

Gladiolus orchidiflorus

Gladiolus orchidiflorus

Dominique is very good at picking out my own favourite flowers. This species is very widespread in Western South Africa. It varies quite a lot, plants in the South tending to be taller with more green flowers, plants in more arid Northern areas tending to be shorter with narrower leaves and red tinged flowers. It is highly scented and not difficult to grow under frost-free glass. I was lucky enough to see this in the wild in RSA in 1999, in sand dunes adjacent to a lagoon full of flamingoes!

Gladiolus orchidiflorus – reddish form

Surprise !

I had indicated to my three lovely collaborators that there would be no new art for this month. Then I recalled drawing Gladiolus orchidiflorus some years ago – so this is a surprise for them, and the first time this drawing has been shown. My technique has improved somewhat but I was generally quite pleased with this piece. The bigger ‘southern’ type is on the right hand side and you can see the contrast with the smaller ‘northern’ type on the left.

Gladiolus orchidiflorus, coloured pencil on Bristol Board, somewhere around 2008!


      1. Indeed. One of our receptionists (now sadly deceased) used to go out and mark them all diligently with a stake so the mower drivers could avoid them.
        The good news is they have missed a few under the hedge which are flowering beautifully and should set seed OK. The main campus roundabout has not been mown yet and there were a lot on there last year.

        Liked by 3 people

  1. Darren, what an amazing surprise!!! The Gladiolus orchidiflorus is so wonderful! Your botanical art is stunning! What an amazing edition! Your flowers are absolutely gorgeous and you are such an inspiration. Much love to you my friend 😘🌸💟

    Liked by 6 people

  2. Oh I LOVE this post so much! The photos are simply stunning. (apart from the butterfly one – as much as I would love to see the beauty in them like most normal people do, I have a weird phobia about them) The model is beautiful too – is she a relative of yours? Sorry, I know you explained that some of the photos were from another site, but I didn’t catch as to whether you knew her or not. When I scroll through blogs, I am normally impatient if I can see they are lengthy, but I could have scrolled down yours for hours and not got bored of all those fantastic snaps of nature. Thanks for making my eyes smile.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Thank you so much. What a lovely comment!

      The model is one of the team – Dominique Nancy from 3C Style. She is a great friend and every bit as beautiful on the inside too!

      So glad you enjoyed this post 🙂 x

      Liked by 5 people

  3. Amazing, Super D! Your botanical art is just stunning. Thank you for the beautiful surprise…it is just perfect! Heading out to go white water rafting today, but wanted to check in first. Love and hugs to you!!

    Liked by 5 people

      1. I am in love with the tundra! From the flowers to the critters, it is a magical place. So quiet, removed from everything…simply nature. I could have sat up there for hours. Going back tomorrow, hoping to capture the horned sheep. The critters have been so kind to me, during this trip. My family believes that I can talk to them! (I think they have discovered my super power! 😉) The photos you have seen are from my iPhone. I can’t wait to download the photos from the ‘real’ camera when I return!

        Liked by 4 people

  4. I love surprises and yours is every bit beautiful and delightful. Gorgeous drawing Darren. Please do look for more amazing artworks in your archive. I never seem to get enough. Pure art from the heart! I think I will put this slogan into a t-shirt as well. You inspire me so much. xoxo

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you Hayley!

      Roda does a terrific job with the collages. These were chosen from a number of options she did for each outfit. There are more on the 3C style post.

      One of my closest friends is a Hayley by the way.

      Liked by 4 people

  5. First of all, this is amazing! Kudos!! Absolutely in love with this collab! Secondly! Orchids are my favorite flower! 😍

    I feel honored that I am privy to such a bountiful treasure of facts as these! Thank you so much. I’m smiling and it is wonderful to be able to come back here and read and see the beautiful photos.

    I love flowers! The poeny!!! Don’t get me started! I loved all of these! They have such beautiful names too.

    Hugs! 😊💕

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you Mel. My blog was originally set up to publicise my art when I had hopes of being able to sell some. Lack of time has prevented me going much further with that yet, and the blog has kind of drifted off from its original course!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well… you can do anything you like. You are the “arty” plantsman after all. I’m glad you’re bringing your art back. Sprinkling it adds a nice touch your posts! Kudos!

        I hope you have a nice day!

        Liked by 2 people

      1. Thanks I’m trying not to worry about my challenging short term memory ‘burps’ and just plough on instead! If your lovely plant was “as easy” Darren it would just be like something else, not like itself and it would lose it’s challenge…which is probably what keeps you so interested in it! Have a great day!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I so much love these posts and your photos are just glorious, Darren as are of course the flowers depicted. 😉 I didn’t know od the bee orchid, it’s so lovely and combines two things I love! 😄 Keep up the good work, I’ve really grown addicted to these collaborated posts! 😄❤

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I am usually not an orchid lover but that gladiolus orchid is as beautiful as something I ever seen,so peculiar😍😍😍😍🤩🤩🤩🤩🤩and I loved so much the white viola too.an other great artwork…..glad I found it😉

    Liked by 1 person

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