When Fashion and Nature Collide – Flowers November 2018.

This is my November 2018 contribution to our special project: When Fashion and Nature Collide

This post is linked to our earlier post on the new ‘Fashioned by Nature‘ project.

I am again delighted to have taken some of the fashion photos of Dominique for her post over at 3C Style and I desperately wished that I had been there to take the others. Even in the snow! The pictures with the Iris were taken during a visit to St Eustache where Dominique grew up, and the pictures with the cat-tails/ fritillaria were taken during a lovely weekend in Knowlton.

These flowers  have provided the inspiration for Dominique‘s styling and Lisa’s art this month. Please go and visit their own blogs and see their posts. Collages used here were prepared by Dominique.

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Allium elburzense

Fashion Inspiration by 3C Style, T-shirt art by Lisa Lawrence, Flower photography by Darren, collage compiled by 3C Style.

This onion is endemic to the Elburz mountains of Northern Iran where. Like most onions, it is used locally as food and is known as “Valak”. There is also a folk tradition of using this plant to treat diabetes mellitus which is prevalent in the region. Recent scientific investigation has established that this folk medicine has a basis in fact – with studies showing a significant anti-diabetic response. Other folk medicine uses include treatment for rheumatism and also use as an aphrodisiac!

From a gardeners perspective it is a good plant for a rock garden in places where summers are dry – it does require a dryish summer rest. It has short stems, only up to 15cm but usually shorter, and the flowers vary from this lilac-grey through to pink. It is in the section of the genus known as Acanthoprasum alongside the closely related to the larger and commonly grown Allium karataviense which shows similar colour variation.



Calochortus tolmiei

Cat ears collage9.png

Fashion Inspiration by 3C Style, Flower photography by Darren, Digital addition of flowers to fashion photos – Lisa. collage compiled by 3C Style

This has a wide range across California and Oregon and is found in a great diversity of habitats, from scree to forests. This adaptability makes it one of the easier Calochortus to grow in cultivation but it does like a dry summer rest so is best grown in pots in a cold greenhouse where the foliage (which appears in winter) can be protected from the elements. Like most North American Calochortus, this is a winter/spring growing plant which goes dormant in summer.

Calochortus barbatus


Fashion Inspiration by 3C Style, Cat art by Lisa Lawrence, Flower photography by Darren, collage compiled by 3C Style.

Mexico is home to this Calochortus which, in contrast to the above species, grows in summer and needs keeping dry and dormant in the winter months. It is the only Mexican Calochortus widespread in cultivation in Europe and is very easy to grow and increases easily by both seeds and by bulbils that form in the leaf axils.

The pestilent scarlet Lily Beetle finds it a very useful plant in my garden as it gives them something to eat after the Fritillaria have gone dormant in summer!

Calochortus is a large and varied genus. Virtually every species is attractive. Take a look at the galleries on the PBS site.


Fashion Inspiration and collage by 3C Style, 3C Style Photography and flower photography by Darren.

Fritillaria elwesii

An understated flower which I find rather charming. It is one of the few of my many Fritillaria which happily grows in the garden unprotected and this in itself give the plant great value to me. Mine is planted at the base of a white-barked Birch tree (Betula utilis) and this helps keep the dormant bulbs dryish in summer and also approximates to the native habitat of this species – light woodland in Turkey. It does like moisture during the growing season in winter/spring.

Photo 14-04-2018, 13 10 51

Iris damascena


Fashion Inspiration and collage by 3C Style, 3C Style Photography and flower photography by Darren.

This is one of the ‘oncocyclus’ Iris species, which are closely related to the Bearded iris but far more extreme in their adaptation to dry desert and steppe evironments. The oncocyclus Iris are possibly the most beautiful and enigmatic of all Iris, many species having very large flowers with dark veining on a light background and looking almost black or black and white

This species is endemic to Mount Qasioun in Syria where it is critically endangered. There are probably more plants in cultivation than in the wild. That said, it is a real challenge to cultivate in any case, requiring very dry conditions and a fertile but rocky and well drained, alkaline soil. In northern Europe it requires glasshouse cultivation and great care.

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  1. I was reading (looking at the pictures) a copy of vogue yesterday in the hairdressers and, to be honest, I much prefer your fashion shoot – the mix of fashion and nature in these photos is just brilliant – job well done! xx

    Liked by 2 people

  2. What a great post, Darren. It is so nice to learn more about the plants and their habitat. Love it! This post combines four of my favourite flowers (the last four). But my biggest crushes will always be the passion and zucchini flowers! Your talent amazes me and inspires me so much dear friend. 😍💕 Oh, my goodness, I just read Lisa’s lovely comment above. I would love so much for us to do a monthly collaboration for Vogue. Uhmm… Something to dream about. Meanwhile, I’ll keep smiling and think of Lisa’s comment. She made my day!!!!!!! Please let her know and give her a big hug from me. Sending you a huge one too. Much love! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Dominique. As you know, I have plans for the zucchini flowers once I finish the passion flower piece. I have thanked Lisa for you. When I read that comment I was delighted because I knew how much it would mean to you and you deserve it. Love and a huge hug back! xxx

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I cannot wait to see the final drawings of the passion flower and the one of the zucchini flowers. What I have seen so far is sublime. Thank you for including me in your reply to Lisa’s comment. I am due to pay her a visit. xoxo

        Liked by 1 person

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