I have a Photographer’s Dilemma

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And here it is. One pretty small garden, illness that often keeps me at home and my passion for photographing (and growing) flowers. Colour. I love to grow things that attract wildlife such as bees and butterflies. I support birds with food water and nest boxes all year round and have hedging plants that bear winter berries for them. The garden should be alive. Even the mice are allowed to steal a little food, and get caught live and released near a pond if they seem to be growing in numbers.


Yet we are now bombarded with news about food shortages, and I’ve just planted new perennial flowers where I had veg last year. Do I carry on with my plan to get more butterflies and bees and hoverflies in the garden and squeeze the veg into tubs? Do I backtrack on my plan and move the plants out again? In such a small space I could grow a few spring onions, a couple of runner beans and a tomato plant, but when we realise just how overpopulated the world is and how tough things are getting, maybe we all should be doing what was done in Britain during the war and turning our gardens into vegetable plots.

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Perhaps we wouldn’t be in such a state if people wasted less, but I’ve composted everything I can for years. I do mean everything. Cotton T-shirts, waste paper baskets made of wicker, rat bedding, shredded paper and of course all kitchen waste that isn’t meat. We throw away very, very little. Compared to our neighbours, our bin collection and recycling collection is tiny. So what would you do? Food or flowers?


17 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mpaulphotography
    Jan 28, 2011 @ 17:44:00

    What’s that Chinese proverb? “If you have two loaves of bread, sell one and buy a lily.” I vote flowers – from personal experience, it’s better for my garden if I support local farmers and buy their produce. Of course, I’m not that good at growing veggies!

    Nice images 🙂


    • chriscaff
      Jan 28, 2011 @ 17:53:27

      Great thinking, Paul. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your thoughts and compliments. I’ll probably do that and just squeeze in what veg I can.


  2. Jane- My Heartsong
    Jan 28, 2011 @ 17:56:08

    plant both-attract birds with different seeds and shrubs and realize some of the food is going to go to the wildlife. And enjoy shooting photos of it all.


  3. Miss Morgans 365 Days of Photos
    Jan 28, 2011 @ 18:21:30

    The photographs are beautiful. Personnally Im trying to start my first veggie garden this year. I have flowers but they are in pots and places that people will see. The veggies will be in the backyard. Why not have the best of both worlds?


  4. theidlepixel
    Jan 28, 2011 @ 19:11:23

    You should do slightly more food than veggies (which is what I do. And, maybe the post should be named “Gardener’s Dilemma”?)

    If you do more flowers, however, let’s see the fabulous shots of them.


    • chriscaff
      Jan 28, 2011 @ 19:15:31

      Thanks idlepixel. Hmmm, good thought, however, some of my garden is too shaded to grow veggies. I will take lots of photos, though. I can’t help myself! Even more to come as I’ve been playing with my extensions tubes and can’t wait for those summer blooms. Post on the extensions tubes tomrrow!


  5. eremophila
    Jan 28, 2011 @ 21:06:12

    The original cottage gardens mixed vegetables and fruit trees with the flowers. It’s a relatively new idea to grow vegetables separately in rows – not natural at all. Rainbow chard looks fabulous next to a range of flowers, borage herb brings the bees, flowers can be eaten as well as photographed. Look for heritage varieties of vegetables and you’ll be amazed at their glorious diversity, hardiness and vigor. There’s something for every situation, even some shade.
    I can’t comprehend anyone thinking vegetables are boring:-)


    • chriscaff
      Jan 28, 2011 @ 21:37:44

      Yes I thought about that. I’ve done it before, buthad more room to be creative with it than I’ve got now. Having said that, the thought of mixing, say, some leeks (lovely foliage) and some pretty lettuce might work…


  6. Robin
    Jan 29, 2011 @ 15:36:30

    I mix flowers in with my veggies. Some of the flowers help the veggies by keeping away pests that don’t like the flowers. Others help in other ways. And the mix can be very pretty.


  7. squirrelbasket
    Jan 29, 2011 @ 22:34:29

    Well, of course a mixture is great – and you can eat Nasturtiums and some cabbages are decorative and Swiss chard, of course.
    You’re lucky to have a choice. I garden in deep shade so can’t grow veg at all, apart from a few herbs in pots.
    All you can do is your best. And if everyone wasted less food it would help.
    Not sure what refuse/recycling collections you have in your area, but here the council is starting to ask for food waste separately – hopefully it will make everyone feel guilty enough to act…


    • chriscaff
      Jan 30, 2011 @ 19:09:48

      I’m sure you’re right. All we can do is our best. I can’t make the neighbours do more, but try to do all I can. We recycle cans, cartons, cadboard, paper, glass, foil (aluminium) some plastics and all kitchen waste (we feed the foxes and cats with bones and skin off meat) and have two compost bins.


  8. Pookledo
    Jan 30, 2011 @ 09:08:41

    I’m a sucker for growing veg. But I do apprecaite the flowers on veg plants. The red snappers on runner beans, the purple heads on chives, and the strange bulb flower heads on garlic.


    • chriscaff
      Jan 30, 2011 @ 18:58:04

      Hi Pookledo. Thanks for calling and taking the time to comment. Yes, runner beans are lovely flowers, and I’ve hatched a plan now to grow sunflowers and let the runner beans grow up them. I’ve seen it done years ago at a large horticultural show, and fancy trying it. Garlic, part of the onion family, has pretty flowers, and all the alliums are lovely. I have garlic chives and chaives, with equally pretty flowers.


  9. randywornhole
    Feb 17, 2011 @ 09:41:58

    Fabulous colours, amazing pictures, just make me excited for spring again when the sap rises…..xx


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