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



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22 thoughts on “Midnight Blooms

  1. Sometimes the gaps between British and American English are just wide enough for an unexpected laugh . . . .when I first read “torch” I immediately visualized, you know, a torch — flame on a stick. And I thought, that’s daring., and it’s likely a really decorative one. And then I hit the sentence about the batteries. Right, a flashlight. Love the photos!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gorgeous! Never mind boys’ toys, I shall be heading to Robert Dyas for one of my own soon – just the thing for shooting airy grass panicles sans moonlight not to mention the photographic skill/patience. Sympathies where evil weevils are concerned …. choice pots are especially prone.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, these are just gorgeous! I’d not thought of lighting up flowers for photography with LED light. What a good idea! Is it actually a white light or is it blueish?
    I don’t know about your vine weevils, but the flies and moths that alight on the outside of my windows at night walk away from LED light… whenever I shine a torch on them, they just avoid it. Isn’t that strange for insects that are usually attracted to ‘normal’ light?


  4. I’m now imagining most of your readers creeping round their gardens in the dead of night, complete with new torches and cameras. I’ve tried this, when looking for slugs/snails and found that one of those head lights worked very well; leaving me to commit murder with two hands. Now going to try with the camera! Beautiful photos, thank you!


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