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What You Don’t Know About Saxon Holt: Reflections on His Childhood

– Posted in: Garden Design

Saxon has been contributing to Gardening Gone Wild for over 4 years…practically since its inception. As all of you know, he is a gifted garden photographer, a gardener, a fine writer, and a man with a gentle soul. You can see more of  Saxon’s work on his website: Saxon Holt and his personal blog, Mental Seeds.Fran Sorin

When pressed I confess to being more gardener than photographer. While I do love taking pictures and trying to figure ways to tell the stories I see, gardening is what drives me to pick up the camera. I rarely pick up a camera unless I am in a garden or exploring plants and ecosystems.

I come from a long line of gardeners. My great grandfather, John Sherwood, had a beautiful home in Baltimore Maryland with a huge garden that he left to the City of Baltimore. Sherwood Gardens is still open and famous for its tulip display. The enduring, classic azalea, ‘Sherwood Red” is named for him.

Growing up in Tidewater, Virginia, I became a gardener by osmosis. As the oldest of five kids I think my parents were eager to have me take up the garden chores, cutting the grass, pulling weeds, turning the compost. I don’t remember enjoying any of this. I do remember being paid a penny for every dandelion and thinking this was not much of an incentive.

Lawnboy - Saxon Holt as young child
Lawn Boy

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Spring unfolding – Focus Point

– Posted in: Garden Photography

It’s wildflower season !  Grab you camera (and tripod), some sturdy shoes, sunblock , a bottle of water, and go study what is unfolding in nature.  The miracles become all the more fantastic by examining the wonder in the details.

A macro lens is essential for studying nature close up.  It will allow close focusing so you can fill your frame with the flower, leaf, or bug; and with a dedicated macro lens, as opposed to a point and shoot with macro capability, you can get some very special photos. [click to continue…]

Bringing Nature Home, or a Spinning a Web?

– Posted in: Miscellaneous

A (British) frog. Courtesy of Deb Evans (the photo not the frog).

I’ve been meaning to read ‘Bringing Nature Home’ by Douglas Tallamy for a while. American readers will probably heard of it – the book which makes the case for growing native plants to support biodiversity, and something of a bible for ‘nativists’. Who, I gather are gaining strength in the US. Whenever I visit I hear complaints from gardeners about “native nazis” – people who dogmatically assert that anyone growing non-natives is somehow an enemy of the environment. It seems a tragedy that an important debate has gotten so bad-tempered.

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Wild Garden Photos

– Posted in: Garden Photography

Autumn pond - Proctorsville, VermontLast month, while our Gardening Gone Wild readers were out shooting for the Fill the Frame theme in our Picture This photo contest, I was on vacation in New England – I was filling my camera frame with fall color in Vermont and the landscapes of poet Mary Oliver in Cape Cod, such as Blackwater Pond:

Blackwater Pond, Cape Cod National Seashore

Funny thing though, while I was ostensibly on holiday from my work as a garden photographer I saw all the wild landscapes as gardens.  God’s gardens to be sure, but I saw them defined by earthly designs. [click to continue…]

Photo Overwhelm

– Posted in: Garden Visits

One of my first first lessons to students who take my garden photography workshops is about “seeing”.  If you don’t stop to think what you are seeing, what it is that excites you about a garden, then you will end up with a photo that will be little more than literally, a snapshot of time.  Let’s take this lesson to Chicago.Lurie garden in Milennium Park, Chicago

When you are in a fabulous garden you can start hyperventilating over beauty, not knowing where to start.  It happens to everyone.  It happened to me in the Lurie Garden in Chicago’s Millenium Park.

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