The Changing Seasons – February 2020

This challenge is hosted by Su from Zimmerbitch. You can find out how to participate at the end of this post!

A variable month. The upturn in my mood at the end of January has generally persisted but there have been some very bad moments also and I probably need to think about going back on meds to stabilise. A string of dark and stormy weekends and the seemingly never-ending bathroom saga have not helped!

Partly because of the above there has been very little creativity this month. This piece showing two redwood cones has been dumped in a drawer until I find the enthusiasm to finish it – probably never as I hate revisiting work:

The bathroom is finished apart from fitting blinds. I am unsure, yet, if I am allowed to use it or if I will be given a bucket of rainwater in the garage.

The lack of enthusiasm for creativity has meant that I have been reading a lot. This month’s included a book from our WP friend Sabina, and I really enjoyed it. If you don’t know her blog you should visit – her blog posts are hilarious.

There are signs of spring in the garden and here are some random images:

Corydalis malkensis

Tropaeolum tricolor

One of the Holy Grails of horticulture for me is Sturt’s Desert Pea from Australia. This is notoriously difficult even under glass in the UK where the humidity seems to upset it during the winter. Generally it is grafted on to the rather tougher Clianthus puniceus. After two years of careful culture from seed I have now succeeded in flowering it this month without it being grafted. Most forms in the wild have a shiny black centre to the flower but my plant lacks this (plants without it do occur in the wild also).

General photos of my day-to-day activities have been somewhat hampered by my total failure to get the lens on my phone camera repaired….

Now some videos! The new bathroom cabinet has a light activated by a PIR sensor. I will probably get bored of this eventually but for now:

I have also been wasting spending a lot of my lunch breaks finding new music on Youtube. One recommendation that popped up as an ad on another video has completely taken over my head this week:

The above reminds me slightly of the wonderful Mazzy Star, whose founder Dave Roback sadly passed away this week at only 61. The mesmerising melody of ‘Into Dust’ is a favourite (and easy) guitar tune and I had only been playing it last weekend:

If you would like to join in, here are the challenge guidelines:

The Changing Seasons Version One (photographic):

  • Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery that you feel represent your month
  • Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so that others can find them

The Changing Seasons Version Two (you choose the format):

  • Each month, post a photo, recipe, painting, drawing, video, whatever that you feel says something about your month
  • Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!
  • Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons so others can find them.

If you do a ping-back to Su’s original post, she can update hers with links to all of yours.


  1. The bathroom looks fab! Hopefully the memories of its genesis will fade soon (especially if you’re allowed to use it). Personally, if it were mine I’d be making alternative arrangements for the Y’s in the family.
    Congratulations on the Desert Pea. Interesting that Clianthus puniceus is considered robust. It’s considered a seriously threatened species here. Wild specimens are confined to a couple of very small enclaves.
    Your plant photos are wonderful, as are your drawings, so I hope you do feel inspired to go back to the redwood cones.
    Finally — thanks for the music. I’m really sad to read of Dave Roback’s death, and very pleased to have been introduced to Basia Bulat. Off to update my playlist now!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Glad you like the bathroom. I popped in for a shave this morning after Susan went to work but have made sure to leave no evidence.
      I had no idea Clianthus was so rare in the wild. It is not uncommon in cultivation here in mild areas. I have a number of young plants from seed as I wanted grafting stock if the desert pea looked like struggling.
      Thank you – I am happy you liked the flower photos and the drawing. I made a mistake adding a leaf behind the cones and need to think of a way to salvage it.
      Basia Bulat is playing in the UK in autumn (she is Canadian) so I may buy a ticket. She is actually playing in London this weekend but it is sold out.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I shouldn’t laugh, but I’m thinking that eventually Susan will work out you are using the bathroom to shave, unless you acquire quite an elaborate selection of fake beards to hide the fact. Which does seem to defeat the purpose. Though I guess you could take them off outside the house.
        I think the problem here with both Clianthus puniceus and the other species, maximus, is that they’ve been extensively cultivated in NZ, by both pre-European Maori and latter settlers, so there is an abundance of plants from a few cultivars, while their natural habitat has been extensively modified for agriculture.
        Are you going to Canada later in the year? Could you fit in a concert then? OK: Leeds and Manchester are closer and probably easier to organise.


        1. She told me yesterday that I need to test the shower before we pay the bill so I am guessing this means I am allowed to use it. Or maybe I smell bad.
          She came home from work yesterday though, and asked me, quite pointedly, why there were droplets of water around the bath plughole. I have no idea why they were there and am innocent this time.
          Intersting to hear that about the Clianthus. Does the white form occur in the wild too? Or is that a cultivar that arose in cultivation?
          Yes – Canada booked for June but she is not playing when I am there ( she plays Montreal in May I think).

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Hehe. I’d take advantage of the “testing” opportunity for some very long hot showers.
            The water droplets could be a leaky tap, or the plug-thingy is a bit proud and not draining properly. We have that problem with one of our basins and if it’s left, develops that horrible pink bacteria.
            White Clianthus does occur naturally, but was thought to have been extinct. A few years ago, some seeds were found and new plants grown from them. They have been returned to the place wild ones were last seen and have their own enclosed area (hopefully safe from possums, etc) in the hope they’ll reestablish.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. It just occurred to me that it is an electric shower and she is nervous about electricity and water so she may just need someone expendable to try it out before her….
              I think she is wondering about a leaky tap too. It has not dripped whilst she has been watching it but it would not need ti be frequent I guess.
              Good to hear about the Clianthus. I might start taking better care of my neglected seedlings!

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Ouch!! Have you tried casually mentioning how you’ve made a new Will in favour of a gadening charity/donkey sanctuary/craft beer start-up?
                I definitely think you should nurture the Clianthus. You might be able to get some sort of cultural grant to deliver them back to NZ. Bit of boring ceremony, but a good excuse to check out our native plants.

                Liked by 1 person

                1. Craft beer start-up? Now you are talking!
                  I definitely fancy the idea of visiting and seeing your native plants. The alpine flora of South Island really interests me especially. I have grown a few of the buttercups such as Ranunculus lyallii and also Clematis marmoraria. They do ok here. I also have a few of the smaller and less lethal Aciphylla. The Celmisia grow very well in NE England but less well here where it is much wetter in winter.


  2. I see I wasn’t the only one who wanted February to ‘get on with it already’. Enjoying other creative pursuits like reading and listening to music can definitely be soothing, healing, and just what the dr. ordered until the storm has passed.

    The bathroom looks great! Depending on how much of a slob you are, I’d get that bucket and head out to the back … Hahahahhaa. *ahem* The light is a nice touch, but I wonder when you will start doing it absentmindedly in other ppl’s or public WCs, or randomly around the house, scratching yourself wondering why the f*ckin light won’t come on. 😛

    That tricolor flower!!!!!!!!!! Unreal! xo

    Liked by 3 people

  3. The bathroom is scarily beautiful. I suppose you could take a cup of tea in there and just gaze upon it. I love your flower photos too. I tried growing a desert pea in the garden with no luck.
    I’m having trouble getting going too. No shortage of ideas, but execution zilch. I’ll come back to your post to listen to the music.
    I hope it is not rude to ask, Darren, but are you still doing your WFNC collaboration?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you Tracy😍.
      I think I was lucky with the desert pea. I thought I had killed it at one point by dropping a pot on it and snapping off the shoot. But it sprouted more shoots from below the break and I wonder if this has actually helped it by forcing it to branch!
      Not rude at all. We had to take a break because Dominique was under a lot of pressure at work over the winter. Plus there has been a lot going on behind the scenes to try to make the project more financially stable – I can’t be in Canada to do all the fashion photos ( I wish I could be) and there are costs involved for Dominique in paying photographers etc.
      So we do intend to re-launch eventually. Thanks for asking😍

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Hopefully, that is the last of the storms Darren. They seemed never ending. I am so looking forward to spring. Your bathroom looks great. I hope you get to use it. All of your plants look beautiful. Congratulations on growing Sturt’s Desert Pea.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I also hate to revisit earlier works and was thinking about writing a post about all my abandoned paintings (there are quite many! 😂). But in your case I really, really hope that you’ll soon find the time to continue working on your cones, they’re already so beautiful and it would be a shame not to. 😍
    And I’m sorry to hear that you’re considering to get back taking the meds, but all for it of course if it helps!! Noticing the signs and reacting to them early is the best way.
    Oh! I love your bathroom! Especially those blue-green tiles! The only thing to add would be an octopus somewhere in what ever form you fancy. 😉 Maybe you could draw one and then frame it? I know it would look spectacular!
    And yay to the desert pea!! 😄
    I was also wondering about WFNC and so glad to hear that there’s going to be a comeback eventually. 😊💕

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Sarah. The issue with the cones was stupidly adding the leaf in the background. It might erase but I should really have left it at just the cones. You really should write that post on abandoned work. This is actually the first piece I have scrapped in five years and it knocks my confidence to do so.
      Everyone who has seen those tiles loves them! We went round the tiles shop and these just stood out immediately – and were heavily discounted too.
      I really like the octopus idea!
      WFNC will return eventually, promise!❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yay to the return of WFNC!! 😀 And well done you for getting the tiles heavily discounted too!! Perfect example of being at the right time at the right place. 😀
        Let’s not start talking about the mistakes we make when drawing/painting – I could fill eons with them!! 😂
        Have a lovely weekend in your lovely new bathroom and playing around with the light sensor. 😉 ❤

        Liked by 1 person

          1. I know what you mean, and I also get frustrated when I finally find an hour for painting and all I come up with is worth throwing in the bin! I try to accept and learn that’s the journey that counts and not the goal. 😉

            Liked by 1 person

  6. Perhaps you could just frame the cones. It is lovely as it is! And that bathroom…incredibly amazing awesome!!! You done good!
    I am going to miss February, I’m glad there is one extra day in it this year! Although, to be honest, I really wish we’d had more winter here in EOregon. No matter, I’m excited by the little tiny plants popping up all over. I loved your flower photos-I do better with tubers and bulbs than seeds. But, I have not a lot of patience. Yours is incredible! Congratulations on the successes inFeb!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Kris. I think your West Coast winters are rather like ours. Certainly your native plants like Trilliums etc do very well here.
      Bulbs are really my specialty too, but I do grow most of those from seed too. Longest I have waited for a bulb to flower from seed is 16 years so I have lots of patience. Most bulbs flower in year three from seed.
      The cones – I wish I had stopped myself before trying to add a leaf in the background and now I really don’t like it. It is graphite so might erase ok.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Except I’m not on the coast anymore. I miss that part of Oregon–I don’t like the Eastern side. Dry and windy and dry! I always wondered about bulbs from seeds, I knew it was real, but it surely seemed like a myth!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m sorry your moods been a bit all over the place lately and I hope it works out without meds but if not I hope they do the trick and have you feeling better! That’s such a beautiful drawing it’s a real shame for it not to be finished. I do completely understand a lack of desire to go back to previous work though. Your bathroom is looking bloody amazing though! Seriously that is some fancy pants stuff and I love the light on the mirror! That’s so neat! 😍

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Arbie, you are very kind 💕.
      I have been told this evening that I am to test the shower before we pay the bill. I interpret this as meaning I am allowed to use the bathroom after all 😍.


  8. Judging from your pics drawing and amazing bathroom ( I could move in )I say your creativity is still above the national average my friend.
    Hope your mood is improving😘and I warmly thank you for the mention, I really am chuffed ☺️

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Your flowers are gorgeous Darren and your garden looks fabulous. And, as for that creativity that’s gone MIA, it’ll come back. Spring will hopefully help. Take care 🌸

    Liked by 1 person

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