Tag Archives: Summer

Art by Instagram – Sharing your Artistic Streak with the World: Colours and Seasons

I love images – photographs, paintings, evocative writing,
and art that create the essence of something real, whether abstract or realistic.
I’m an artist of words, pictures, photographs, and sculpture,
and Instagram has been one of the ways I share my creativity with the world.

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I enjoy capturing moments and photography is the easiest way to do that, even easier since the advent of digital cameras, apps, and editing software.  Beautiful images soothe the soul, and I love being able to share them so readily.

Recently, as I scrolled my Instagram feed, I noticed how the seasons rule the colours in my photographs. It’s easy to recognise the season by the colours rippling through the collections of pictures. It’s subtle, but it’s there…

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Spring © Lisa Shambrook

Spring erupts across the pictures in deep bluebell lilacs, pale pinks and white of daisies, and blossom and spring flowers, daffodil yellow and clean greens with new growth and hope.

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Summer © Lisa Shambrook

Summer hails with beaches, blue sky and crashing ocean waves, deep rose pinks, lilacs and summer flowers, and magical rays of sunshine.

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Autumn © Lisa Shambrook

Autumn brings deep berry red, gold, russet, crimson, and brown of crunchy, fallen leaves, warm colours and cosy pets, scarlet apples and night lights, and shimmering silver frost.

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Winter © Lisa Shambrook

Winter arrives with night-sky indigos and blues, glittery frost and gleaming snow, jewel tones and hot chocolates, bare trees and the colours of cold and chill and warm blankets.

The seasons have their own colours and tones and I love being able to scroll through them…

You can find me on Instagram @lisashambrook and I share more pictures on Flickr.

Which season owns your favourite colours?  

10 Late Summer Flowers – Beautiful Blooms

As Summer takes its leave let’s take in and delight in its legacy of beauty.

ten-late-summer-beautiful-blooms-title-090915Despite a wet and cool British Summer the season still enchants
with a bountiful spread of flora, what have been your favourites?

nigella, love in a mist, the last krystallos,

Nigella © Lisa Shambrook

Nigella Damascena: Often known romantically as Love-in-a-mist, this is one of my most favourite cottage garden flowers. Easy to grow from scattered seed, and they self-seed beautifully, they can decorate your garden with pretty pastels. They’re often blue, but I have a penchant for the pure white, and their narrow, threadlike leaves just add to their feathery enchantment. I even love their bulbous seedheads which can look stunning in a vase amongst other summer flowers too!

Lavender © Lisa Shambrook

Lavender © Lisa Shambrook

Lavender: I can never decide which lavender is my favourite, either delicate British lavendula augustifolia or French lavendula stoechas with its crown of purple feathers! I’m not actually a fan of its fragrance, but its silver leaves and simple purple flowers brighten my summer borders.

roses, rhapsody in blue, Louis XIV, blue moon, audrey wilcox, peach, iceberg, red rose, the last krystallos,

Roses © Lisa Shambrook

Roses: What can I say about roses? They need no introduction. It’s perhaps the world’s most romantic flower renowned for both its beauty and its fragrance. My particular favourites are purple, pinks and whites, and can you ever talk about roses without including red ones? Those pictured here are: Blue Moon, Rhapsody in Blue, unnamed peach rose from my parents’ garden, Louis XIV, Audrey Wilcox and the traditional Iceberg.

mock orange, philadelphus, mock orange flowers, belle etoile, the last krystallos,

Mock Orange © Lisa Shambrook

Mock Orange: the gorgeous philadelphus ‘Belle Etoile’ has one of the most beautiful scents of summer. I adore this delicate white flower stained inside with deep red about its yellow stamens, and I look forward to watching my shrub blossom with buds. It’s sister ‘Virginal’ a double mock orange also claims the stunning scent and can quite easily steal the show in a bouquet.

paeony, paeonies, sarah bernhardt paeony, pink, the last krystallos,

Paeony © Lisa Shambrook and Caitlin Shambrook

Paeony: You can choose whether you spell them paeony or peony, I don’t think it matters. They are one of my husband’s favourites. We have an amazing red paeony which flowers early, and a beautifully subtle pink Sarah Bernhardt which flowers later. Paeonies like to be planted shallow so their bulbous roots can sunbathe just beneath the soil, plant them too deep and they won’t flower so prolifically. There are many varieties, from single, bowl-like, papery blooms to full doubles as big as your hand!

clematis flowers, Dr ruppel clematis, the last krystallos,

Clematis Dr Ruppel © Lisa Shambrook

Clematis: another flower with a multitude of varieties. You can find a variety of clematis that will fill your garden with flowers pretty much all year round. I’ve had tiny white freckled clematis right through to huge Dr Ruppel, pale pink with bright pink stripes. Blues, purple, pinks, white and reds dominate, but you can even find delicate green clematis too, and bright yellow bell-shaped ones which leave bearded seedheads once they’re finished – I delighted in the silver seedheads when I was small!

blue hydrangea mophead flowers, the last krystallos,

Hydrangea © Lisa Shambrook

Hydrangea: this is an odd choice for me, as I hated them with a passion as I grew up. I disliked the bog standard dusky pinks and dull blues, and saw no further than the dirty roadside shrubs in local gardens. When I finally got a garden which already contained a blue hydrangea, I began to appreciate them. They have large mopheads which blossom with tiny flowers and I noticed how my blue flowers began as tight green/white buds and opened into pale pink flowers and slowly changed to big lilac blue flowers.  I learned that the colour you get is often dependent on your soil. Blue most common in acid soil, mauve in acid to neutral and pink in alkaline soil. I would love to have a white hydrangea.

geranium johnsons blue flowers, geranium johnsons blue bee, purple flower and bee, bumble bee and flower, the last krystallos,

Geranium Johnsons Blue © Lisa Shambrook

Geranium: I don’t really like most greenhouse grown geraniums and prefer the hardy garden varieties, much like the bees do! When Johnsons Blue blooms it creates a cloud of purple and the buzz from bees is audible. The flowers are almost ultraviolet and they add a beautiful swathe of colour for the summer.

japanese anemone septembers charm flowers, japanese anemone, the last krystallos,

Japanese Anemone © Lisa Shambrook

Japanese Anemone: definitely one of my favourite late summer flowers. I love the white varieties like Honorine Jobert best, but the dusky pinks, of which I have September Charm, are glorious too. Japanese anemones’ green button centres surrounded by tiny gold stamens are quite bewitching! They have long wiry stems which let the flowers dance in the breeze, and they finish with the strangest cotton wool seedheads which float away once they’re done.

rudbekia flower, yellow flower rain, the last krystallos,

Rudbekia © Lisa Shambrook

Rudbekia: these are fun flowers that brighten up the end of the season. You can often find Rudbekia and Echinacea in the same gardens as they are both of the cone flower variety, offering late colour into the autumn. They’re often known as black-eyed susan and also come from the sunflower family.  Guaranteed to brighten your garden!

So tell me, what have been your favourite summer blooms?
If you had to pick a favourite rose which would it be,
and what colours your summer garden?

If you’d like to see more of my flower photography please take a look at my
Flickr page and The Shutterworks Photoblog

Summer SAD

Don’t get me wrong – I adore the sunshine and the gorgeous, balmy days of early and late Summer, but July and August…I could do without.
Give me a fresh Autumn, throw in some Winter fun and snow, give me a bountiful Spring and a hint of Summer and I’m okay. July and August drown me in the depths of hell…and feel just as hot.

Photograph by Lisa Shambrook and Instagram (Please do not use without permission)

Seriously though, many people, thought to be close to 2million in the UK suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as the ‘Winter Blues’*…but it is far less known that a Summer equivalent exists, affecting just 600,000 in the UK**. I happen to be one of this number.

Just as Winter SAD sufferers wish to hibernate and sleep, I feel the same during the hot, seemingly everlasting Summer months. I also thought I was the only one. When I first read of Summer SAD in Reader’s Digest, and mentioned it to my GP, I thought he’d laugh, instead he told me it not only existed, but was recognised.

I’d spent years suffering depression and thought my bouts of February/March depressive states were pretty much mild Winter Blues…and expected after the excitement and subsequent anti-climax of Christmas, but when I consulted my diaries I found my depressive states were more often found Mid-Summer, when we’re expected to feel sunny, happy and alive. The ‘hot’ months would find me exhausted, tired, irritable and very agitated.
My February/March bouts, when examined, were almost always part of a prolonged clinical depression and not confined to those two months as I’d mistakenly believed. This last Winter, for example, perhaps one of the longest we Brits have experienced for a while, was not a problem. I wasn’t keen on the excessive rain…who is? but it’s now, with Summer finally advancing, that my anxiety levels are creeping upwards and my loathing for Summer heat is coming to the fore.

Again, it’s important to add, that I love the sunshine and Summer warmth, and the long evenings…but when many are out sunbathing, lazing on the beach or just enjoying being outdoors, I would rather be inside escaping the Mid-Summer heat.
If we don’t like the cold, we can wrap up warm, cuddle beneath a fleece, sit by a warm fire, but if we can’t stand the heat we can’t always get out of the kitchen!
I am, however, learning to make the most of Summer, going to the beach in the evening, doing my ‘outside’ work early and appreciating the good things of the season: strawberries, watermelon, ice-cream and fresh salads…
I’m also working on my anxiety and panic levels, attending a CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) course and hope that I can control my Summer month emotions much better.

My perfect temperatures are anywhere between 18 and 24˚C (64 – 75˚F). Thankfully, it’s only June and the temperature is a wonderful 20˚C (68˚F) and I’ll be enjoying the sun for a few more weeks yet. I don’t plan on moving anywhere the temperature tops 30˚C (86˚F) so I might be okay!

How hot do you like it?

Then again, maybe I should just take a siesta when it all gets too much, which could last July through August…waking me in time for a fresh September and the gorgeous turning of the trees!

Figures found here:
*www.sad.org.uk
**www.depressionalliance.org