by AnneWareham on April 17, 2014

Post image for Shadows

Light is the magic in a garden. The most wonderful garden in the world can struggle to excite in rain and gloom. And spring and autumn do special light: because the sun is low, suddenly unexpected things are illuminated.  And you can get dramatic shadows.

Shadows are not an aspect of gardens that are discussed much and I think it’s easy to walk round a garden not noticing them. So I’ve done some noticing …

And realised that you can play with shadows on purpose if you create the surface. We didn’t do that deliberately with the ruin, but we quickly noticed what a bonus we have when the leaves are off the trees and the sun shines. This is the  wall on the inside of the ruin in dull light:

Ruin wall, Veddw Copyright Anne Wareham

No sun.

A wonderful flat, empty space for the sun to write on. Like this:

Shadow on the Ruin wall, Veddw. Copyright Anne Wareham.

Add sun….


or like this:

Shadow on ruin wall, Veddw, copyright Anne Wareham

Ivy trail….


Flat surfaces can arise unexpectedly. This happened when the sun shone, in a blue sky, through the trees on to the frozen surface of the Reflecting Pool:

Iced again - Reflecting Pool iced over, Veddw,Copyright Anne Wareham

Sun, blue sky – and ice.

Sometimes the shape of something is the source of a good shadow. This could have been better if I’d chosen my moment better, but it’s the shadow of our fence –

Shadow April 2014 Veddw Copyright Anne Wareham 200

That’s not our field….

and, at the right hand side, of me. Taking photos of shadows brings up the problem of how to eliminate yourself from the picture. (Sometimes you can find a shadow bigger than yourself to hide in)

Hedges, topiary and clipping all create wonderful shadows –

Meadow Veddw September 2013 copyright Anne Wareham

Having had the meadow cut sharpens the shadows..

Man made structures make good shadows:

Shadow, trellis Mid April Veddw Copyright Anne Wareham

And that is Clematis ‘Veddw’ – it’s not in commerce, it’s our seedling.

But not all good shadows have to be sharp edged. I think that the light and the shadow in both these scenes adds a touch of joy to the pictures:

Shadow in coppice Mid April Veddw Copyright Anne Wareham

That’s periwinkle covering the Coppice floor…

and –

Shadow in the meadow, Veddw , Copyright Charles Hawes

Those are the leaves of Camassias..

Though – it’s the fact of both the shadow and the light that creates the sparkle, I think.

Like this – it’s all a hymn to the returning sun, really:

Sun in Veddw wood, spring Copyright Anne Wareham s.


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John April 18, 2014 at 7:58 pm

You are giving Charles a run for his money! Lovely photographs. I have returned to this post several times to look at the final photo and imagine a comfy chair, a good book and a bottle of good wine. Perfect tranquility. And if I take a photo I try to avoid shadows (not just my own). A rethink of technique is on the cards.

AnneWareham April 18, 2014 at 8:28 pm

Thanks John – and of course: yes that is the way to enjoy it.

Charles April 22, 2014 at 5:30 pm

Great idea for a post and some super pics, too. Your’re becoming a photographer!

AnneWareham April 22, 2014 at 10:33 pm

Well, since you’re turning into a (possibly award winning) writer…..

Jack June 10, 2014 at 3:22 pm

I think I’ve identified what I don’t like about you Anne: more than anyone or anything else you make me want to continue gardening, and that at a time I’m trying to wean myself of it… 🙂
Your writing, your garden revive my jaded enthusiasm

AnneWareham June 10, 2014 at 4:49 pm

But I’m the one who hates gardening….I am sorry if I drag you back to it when freedom beckons. Maybe we should run away together……

Pat Webster April 13, 2016 at 8:32 pm

Great subject for a post, Anne! The shadows on the flat wall are fabulous.

AnneWareham April 14, 2016 at 8:37 am

Isn’t it a great subject!