The Changing Seasons – June 2020

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

Well, the behaviour of people and governments, astonishingly, has been worse than last month! My blood boils at the behaviour of people since lockdown was eased. Barely anyone I see here in the UK is social distancing now, or wearing face coverings. Huge crowds piling onto beaches and leaving tons of rubbish in their wake. I dread the pubs opening this coming weekend.

I was supposed to spend much of June in Montreal but obviously this did not happen and I am very disappointed, obviously. Work has been a welcome distraction – doing busy but routine lab work has kept me busy all month catching up from being at home for two months. Out of the 100 or so people based at our site there are only the 15-20 of us that need lab access being allowed on site. Which makes it both safer and quieter. Even my boss is not around.

So here is a scary pic of post lockdown Darren back in the lab and getting hairier by the day:

Cacti have been the flowering stars of June in the greenhouse:

Lobivia jajoiana ‘Anemone’

But also a few Asclepiads including this, which made its debut on my Instagram:

Ceropegia stapeliiformis

And the summer-dormant tuberous Pelargonium flower after the leaves have died away for summer:

Pelargonium curviandrum (pot diameter is 10cm)

My wife ventured to the pharmacists (neither of us has been in any other shop since March) and returned to tell me about the poppies – several species – blooming on recently disturbed soil alongside the footpath:

Speaking of ‘volunteer plants’ the orchids in this photo appeared spontaneously several years ago and have long outlived the intended inhabitants of these containers:

This one, however, was a deliberate planting, now temporarily in a big pot whilst we revamp the area it came from:

Finally, I have worked on various drawings but the only completed one was this one for my work friend Sarah. Meet Tiger and Pip the Guinea Pigs:

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. Thank you so much Tracy😍.
      I have always been a bit of a misanthrope but this last few weeks have really amplified that!
      Really tempted to dye the beard purple but I am apparently interviewing recruits this month and my boss might not be impressed. Actually – I think I just convinced myself….

      Liked by 4 people

        1. Great idea! Or even no shirt at all, just a tie and maybe some paisley pattern painted on my bare chest. I could go do a full-on ‘Klinger from M.A.S.H’ and go for a section 8 and retirement. Ummm…


  1. Your drawing is stunning Darren. As always, I love seeing the flowers you grow, especially the cacti.

    Purple beard — way to go!!! (says the woman who’s regretting the supermarket colour that turned out gingerbread. If I ever get rid of it, I’m going purple)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Perhaps you could have done a Darren shot side by side with the guinea pigs πŸ˜€

    Actually, all your photos are so lovely. And that drawing! At first I thought it was a photograph. Seriously.

    Yeah, June. WTF? Here’s to July… C’mon July don’t let us down!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. July so far has been wet every day here…at least it might discourage too much pub-going tomorrow.
      Thank you Lani πŸ™‚ Glad you enjoyed the post! I really enjoyed doing that drawing too.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my! Tiger and Pip’s eyes are so alive! So in awe of your realistic drawing skills. As always really enjoy your garden and botannical photography. I’ve bookmarked a few of your snaps from IG that I would like to draw. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 3 people

  4. You sure have some spectacular plants Darren. I had my first haircut in four months yesterday. What a joy. I hope people wake up, and stay safe. We are crossing our fingers here in Ireland with this weeks reopenings including pubs, restaurants and hotels… Your drawing of Tiger and Pip is stunning. You have a great gift.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You are braver than me Brigid. I have not been in a shop since March, let alone had my hair cut, and don’t intend to until there is a vaccine or the rest of the English have died out, whichever is soonest πŸ˜‰
      And thank you! The drawing was fun to do!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m glad you finished your post with the adorable pigs! YOU look perfect, too. Tired, maybe, but gently scruffy. It never fails to amaze me how varied cactus flowers are. Dainty and beautiful. Do they have scent? I love the poppies, too!!!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you Kris! You are very kind. And yes, I am tired. 10-hour days on my feet in the lab are very tiring and I also have not slept properly for a week.
      Most cacti are not scented, sadly. I do have a few that are but they all have big white funnel-shaped flowers that open at night to attract, presumably, moths and bats. My favourite is Echinopsis subdenudata which has huge flowrs that last one night and I bring it into the house when it is in bud. The scent is strange, almost not a perfume at all but just a clean fresh sensation like a garden after rain. I really like it.
      I love poppies and it is always a treat to see ‘wild’ ones pop up. The last time I saw a lot was 2001 when grazing was restricted by a foot and mouth disease outbreak and the wildflowers were left unmolested all summer.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I often think Covid is going to be better for the planet overall than the people on it. So much has been left alone..except where rioting is going on!
        I wonder why most cacti don’t have scent. It seems like a lot of work for a showy short amount of time!!!
        Sending wishes for rest!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you Kris. I sure agree about the planet. The scent thing intrigues me too. I wonder if producing volatile scent compounds does not fit with the need to reduce moisture loss during the daytime? But then a cactus uses a lot of water producing a very big flower that lasts just one day in most cases.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you !

      I had not actually considered doing anything with the drawing but I did scan it properly so I would have a record of it before handing it over this morning. I will think more about this.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Tiger and Pip are adorable!!! 😍 And the light shadowing makes them pop out even more!
    You really remind me of Sam Neill during lockdown now. πŸ˜‰ I was thinking rainbow coloured hair to go along with the purple beard, your hair is long enough for it to work!! 😁 Wow! Not being to the shops since March is hard-core but with your numbers I would very likely have done the same. And don’t get me started on the stupidity of people- it never fails to amaze!
    The poppies are glorious! They belong to my favourite flowers. πŸ˜„ Stay safe and here’s to hoping July will be better regarding people’s behaviour! πŸ’•

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Sarah! And thank you for helping with my shadow quandary last week😍
      Sam Neill, I can think of worse role models! I was struck by the resemblance when I started following his, wonderful, Instagram. I can only dream of being that cool though.
      Rainbow coloured hair? I will definitely make an impression when interviewing in two weeks time….

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It can both ways I guess, either the interviewees think that’s so cool that they want to join your company or they run away!😁
        I think we all can dream of being as cool as Sam Neill. πŸ˜„

        Liked by 1 person

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