Garden Life

Garden Life

As you may already know, I volunteer for the National Garden Scheme. On Friday, a fellow volunteer and I set out to photograph four gardens in Radnorshire. Three out of four of the gardens are new to the NGS, so we wanted to make sure we had some good quality photos on file.

A variety of flowers.
A variety of flowers.
Aquilegia plant.

While landscape and wide-angle shots are more useful for advertising the gardens, I thought I would show you a handful of the close-ups I took, as well as some shots of the wildlife frequenting the gardens.

A brown tabby cat.
The “wildlife” in one garden!

There were a couple of cats at the first garden and they both took to following us around for some fuss. I tickled the belly of one and was swiftly then reminded that not all cats are like mine and that it’s a “no go” area for many cats!

A red/orange poppy.
A poppy.
Buddleia alternifolia.
Buddleia alternifolia.

NGS gardens are great places to visit. You never know what you might see! They have a wide variety of plants. I often come home inspired by the gardens and wanting to buy more plants (some gardens have plants for sale too). Many of the gardens are in rural locations (usually accessible via a narrow lane and up a hill, at least here in Mid Wales, anyway!), while others are situated in towns and villages. Some are big (running into many acres) and others are small but pack a lot in. There’s certainly a lot of inspiration available for your own garden.

A bee on Salvia.

Roses and Foxglove against a garden fence.
Roses and Foxglove against a garden fence.
Centaurea montana.
Centaurea montana.
Bee on Foxglove.
Bee on Foxglove.

Bee on plant.

If you live in or visit England or Wales, I would certainly recommend a visit to an NGS garden. Just check the National Garden Scheme website to see what gardens will be open in your area.


  1. Mother Nature is really putting on a show!
    And that cat…what a glorious kitty!
    Most of the Eastside Cats allow belly pets, but when they are sleeping!
    Sweetie prefers to have her belly rubbed when she’s standing on all four paws.
    For a former feral, being able to pet her is a happy thing for me.

  2. What some amazing pictures, a great showcase for the gardens you support. We have quite a few gardens which are part of the scheme down here and as we live so close to the county borders, we are spoiled for choice between Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire and Hampshire.

    I hope that you manage to get to go to some of the gardens as a visitor, rather than a voluntary worker, mind you getting to take all those lovely pictures uninterrupted must be a great bonus! 🙂

  3. Kris P says:

    That Buddleia is gorgeous. I wish we had something like the UK’s National Garden Scheme. The US has a National Garden Conservancy that schedules open gardens but it seems to be largely focused in the eastern parts of the country. For kicks, I just looked at the Conservancy’s bookings for Los Angeles, California. The site popped up just 2 openings for the entire state of California (one of which was 350 miles away) – and both had been cancelled.

  4. Anca says:

    Wonderful pictures, including of the “wildlife”. I will have to check the website for details on nearby gardens. Hopefully these will have friendly cats too. 🙂

  5. Susan says:

    What beautiful photos – thank you so much for spending your day off taking them. As you say photos are what bring visitors to our gardens – I can’t wait to see some more. I love volunteering with you for our amazing nursing and caring charity. Huge thank you.

  6. You and the other volunteer did an amazing job of photographing the gardens – so beautiful! There are so many pretty, intriguing flowers to look at, and you’ve captured the bee brilliantly well. Did you take the photos with a digital camera, like a DSLR?

    • Nikki says:

      Yes, these were taken with my Olympus E-M10 Mark III and 14-150mm lens. It’s a Micro Four Thirds mirrorless camera which is smaller/lighter than a DSLR.

  7. Ann says:

    Your garden photographs are stunning, Nikki! I love how you captured the bees going about their business, but my absolute favourite is the Buddleia!
    Volunteering for the National Garden Scheme sounds like a wonderful thing to do! xxx

  8. Kelly says:

    Gorgeous photos, as always. I really like the foxgloves. I had to laugh about the cat. All my “grandcats” will bite if their bellies are tickled.

  9. Jude says:

    Another lovely piece Nikki in praise of a great organisation which I often think is a well kept secret!!
    Lovely day out too

  10. jeanie says:

    This garden is fabulous — such gorgeous colors and beauty. And they certainly picked the right person to do the photography! Every photo is a gem, Nikki. Do you know how good you are? It makes me want to get a ticket today!

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