Midnight Blooms



I have a new torch and I don’t mind admitting I am rather taken with it. The last one was indestructible but about as useful as a chocolate teapot, emitting a feeble yellow light even at close quarters. It consumed batteries at an alarming rate, going flat at precisely the moment it was needed. All-in-all, useless, unless employed for clubbing an intruder or propping the front door open, only one of which I attempted. Shopping for a replacement revealed that torch technology has come on in leaps and bounds. The new model is light, flat (hence it fits in my back pocket) and powered by LEDs so bright they could blind a wildebeest at 50 paces. Consider then how stunned the vine weevils I set out to squish on Saturday night must have been when I shone the bright white light on their ugly black bodies. Not so invisible now are you, you little blighters?


Isoplexis sceptrum at night, The Watch House, July 2016


Perhaps my new torch is helping me to win the war against my root and leaf munching foe, because this weekend I could hardly spot a single vine weevil in the undergrowth. Craving alternative satisfaction, I decided to experiment with taking flower portraits using the torch as a supplementary iPhone flash. The results are hardly professional, but sufficiently dramatic for me to post them here for your interest. LED light can be quite cold, yet most colours have come out fairly well. Like the thoroughbred plant she is, D. ‘American Dawn’ (top and bottom of post) photographs well in any conditions. With practice I think I could take better shots, but, vine weevils be warned, if you see the flashlight coming it’s not time for hair and make up – prepare to meet your maker!

My Uni-Com 24 LED worklight (posh name for a torch) is available from the indispensable Harrington’s in Broadstairs and from Robert Dyas.


Dahlia "Totally Tangerine" at night, The Watch House, July 2016

Agapanthus africanus at night, The Watch House, July 2016

Gloriosa rothschildiana at night, The Watch House, July 2016

Dahlia "American Dawn" at night, The Watch House, July 2016