In theory, I would like to have produced something truly amazing with which to mark this occasion, but my garden is very much dormant at present, and having been at work all week I haven't cooked a meal for several days, so I am going to adopt a different approach. I'm just going to show you a few of my favourite photos from the last 3 years. Since today is also Valentine's day, I'm starting off my post with an appropriate symbol of love:
I took up blogging in August 2010. One of the reasons was that I had just bought my wife Jane a new camera for her birthday, and I had inherited her previous one - a rather under-utilised Canon PowerShot S1. I realised that with this I would be able to take (and therefore publish) digital photos of my garden and its produce, and showcase them on social media sites like Facebook, for family and friends to see. I hadn't really intended to set up a blog, but I was persuaded to do so by my daughter Emma who already had a well-established and high-profile blog called Mellow Mummy
My first efforts were not good, and I still put most of my effort into gardening rather than photographing the garden. But the important thing is that I enjoyed it, and once I had the bit between my teeth there was no holding me back. With Emma's help I set up the blog and published 45 posts in the first month. Well, I had lots of things I wanted to write about! This was my first photo:
Since then I have published a post every day - sometimes two - and I still haven't lost interest. I draw lots of inspiration from fellow bloggers, such as David Offutt - the Gastronomic Gardener - and Kelli Boyles who writes My Garden Diary by Kelli Boyles. David, with his boundless enthusiasm for growing, cooking, photography, and garden / kitchen engineering, was instrumental in shaping the development of my blog, whereas Kelli, who set up her blog at almost the same time as I started mine has always been the person with whom I compare progress. Of course there are now thousands of other people who visit my blog and many of them leave me words of encouragement, so I have a huge and ever-expanding community of friends to inspire me to greater efforts.
So here for you today is a small collection of my favourite photos:
This one of ripe "Sungella" tomatoes is the cover picture of my first Picasa web album.
This (rather poor) photo of some chillis was the starting point for my Google avatar - the picture that represents me and my "web presence".
I really love this next one. It shows our granddaughter Lara beginning to take a very close interest in Grandpa's garden. What you don't see here is that two seconds later she plucked one of those little Chicory seedlings right out of the ground, for a much closer inspection!
A glimpse of my arch-enemy, the Fox. Good-looking but hugely destructive in my little garden.
One of my first food photographs: home-grown beans in tomato sauce, with griddled polenta.
Some of my longest-standing readers will recognise this as the Rhubarb leaf that someone (was it Veggiegobbler?) nicknamed The Dragon.
I'm quite proud of this one - Canada Geese on Fleet Pond. I love the way the ripples on the water look.
I soon developed a liking for the close-up shots, like this one of a crocus.
And the use of light and shade to add dramatic effects:
The local wildlife didn't escape my attention either:
I tried lots of the special effects offered by photo-editing programs like Picasa and PicMonkey
I developed a penchant for close-ups of things with raindrops on them - preferably frozen:
I worked hard to present my food offerings as attractively as I could:
I even made the odd diversion into "Abstract Modernism". This is an "enhanced" version of a photo of some Golden Hop stalks. A large framed version of this, printed onto canvas, now hangs in our guest bedroom, which is decorated in blue tones.
Thanks for your support, dear readers. Without you this blog would not be worth doing!