Whilst so much outside is looking decidedly damp, drippy and dull, I have been livening up dark corners of the house with little seed head arrangements. They are not bright or vibrant, and they come in many shades of brown, which is not my favourite colour, but they have a charm all of their own, and to my mind definitely merit closer inspection to enjoy them fully.
Look at this love-in-the-mist seed head. It's amazingly sculptural, making me think of modern architecture.
And this poppy - what a graceful fluted shape.
Cleverly designed by nature, the seeds disperse through the little holes when the wind shakes the seed head.
These are the dried seed heads of bluebells. They're paper-thin and translucent.
The teasel is very prickly and often grows around old woollen mills, as the heads were used to card wool. The word 'card' comes from the Latin name for teasel, carduus.
The seed heads of umbellifers, like cow-parsley or wild carrot, look like the spokes of inside-out umbrellas and some, like this one, close as they dry to form a little cage.
In between the showers I go into the garden to look at the seed heads outside as well. The clematis seed heads are whirled like little Catherine wheels.
And some are incredibly soft and fluffy.
More umbellifers, fennel this time, with lots of seeds ready to dry and use in the kitchen. I leave enough for the birds, and ladybirds hibernate in the hollow stalks.
The seed heads of the crocosmia turn orange, a colourful echo of the flowers.
These irises swell and pop open to show their seeds. They usually grow by ponds or rivers, and the seeds fall in and are dispersed on the water.
A few years ago I discovered the artist and print-maker Angie Lewin, when one of her greeings cards caught my eye. Since then I have been hooked on her amazing work, and bought her book 'Plants and Places', which is full of the most gorgeous images of seed heads, stems, leaves, berries, shells and pebbles. Her shapes are strong and fluid, and the colours rich and vintage, and she has the eye of a botanist for the plants' detail.
Inspired by Angie, I like to add feathers to my little arrangements. In this case a guinea-fowl feather, dark brown and delightfully polka-dotted.
I love the shapes and textures of seed heads, corn and feathers. They go together well in stoneware or metal containers like this, and bring a more natural, earthy palette of colours indoors.
These sweet and unassuming little arrangements look pretty dotted around the house, and I am always glad that I took the time in the summer to dry these stems. As the evenings darken and I draw the curtains a little earlier each evening I enjoy their natural forms and tones, and remind myself that they contain the seeds of next year's floral colour and abundance, all part of the year's cycle x.