Hidden away in a little dip in the relatively flat surrounding Cheshire countryside between Warrington and Northwich is a beautiful little garden and nursery called Bluebell Cottage Gardens and Lodge Lane Nursery. The garden is edged on one side by the Trent & Mersey Canal and the peace and quiet is only broken by the occasional chug of a canal boat motor or the distant whistle of a train. I first visited the garden last year after meeting the owner, Sue Beesley, at a charity event in Knutsford last summer. Sue offered to give me display space in her tearoom for my floral images and since then I’ve done a few jobs for her. A few weeks ago Sue asked me to shoot some pictures of her and the gardens for her newly appointed PR agency. Sue won BBC Gardener of the year in 2006 and a silver medal at the RHS show at Tatton Park last year and she and her gardens are increasingly in the media.
This was one of those jobs that you pray for – the weather was perfect (actually too perfect as the bright, sunny conditions made the shoot quite challenging!) and Sue was very relaxed in front of the camera. Shooting a subject who knows a little about photography also helped, as she was very aware of the light and how to position herself in it. The location was superb, with the gardens immaculately presented and spring flowers such as tulips, hellibores and pasque flowers in bloom. As the name of the garden suggests, there is also a profusion of bluebells in the nearby woods and we were keen to capitalise on this. There’s something special and unique about the light in a bluebell wood – the green canopy of leaves filtering the sunlight, the vivid blue haze of the flowers and the muddy brown of the tree trunks and branches. There was a very tranquil feeling in the woods and although the shots are all obviously staged, they come across as very relaxed and natural. Sue’s PR agency also wanted shots of children playing in the woods and my two budding models obliged later in the day. They enjoyed climbing along the falling branches and running along the narrow paths so much that it wasn’t hard to get some candid shots to meet the brief.

By Jane Burkinshaw. Share this post by clicking on one of the Share buttons on the right hand side. I’d love to hear your comments too!

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