Last year

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Last year the garden was lovely, full of flowers. This ceramic head I made 20 years or so ago was full of nasturtiums and lobelia. It sits on the wall by the back door, its glazed in st Nicholas glaze if I remember rightly. Greeny grey in colour. It was hand built with a flat back and I used wet hand towels to support the face while it was drying out ready for firing.

The space inside it is not very big, so plants that can survive drought conditions are best planted in it.

We are getting our hanging baskets this week and I will try and plant some pots up with begonias, pelagoniums, bizzie lizzies and fuschias to cheer the walls around them up.

I would like to do some more pottery heads, maybe green men masks to make the yard more interesting.

Meanwhile in the main garden the trees are getting out of control. We had some work done earlier in the year but the remaining trees and shrubs have gone rampant because they now have more light.

Still if it works and we get more birds like a chaffinch and a couple of robins, plus nesting blue tits who’s chicks have now fledged , I guess I don’t mind too much!

Flower time

This was my back garden last summer! 20170831_153616

This was my back garden last summer! Unfortunatley I haven’t concentrated on it yet this year. The weather was cold and wet into spring and even now I have tiny seedlings that are just not doing much. I have also been so busy getting ready for art shows and things…

Hopefully in a few weeks time it will start looking good again,

But in the meantime I’m looking out at Blackberry canes growing across the yard. The bees like them but I’m going to remove the long ones that are trying to take over. I will try and post up to date pictures soon if I get it sorted out!

I still need to plant out the onion sets a friend gave me! Shameful that I forgot them until I wrote this!

Poppy painting

This is a painting I did 6 years ago outside in the garden. I love these large poppies. I had decided to  paint outside because it was a beautiful day and why not paint in situ instead of from a photo. I think then decided to take photos of the process. I guess I painted the poppy first as it was the focal point of the painting.

I added all the other flowers to make it more interesting.  One of the things with creating art is the idea if artistic licence. The other flowers were in different parts of the garden and I wanted to add their colours to the mix.

I’m not sure whether I like this painting, its a bit flat, maybe I should have used more shading as the colours are all of very similar tones, but I was looking at a shady garden and the light was changing over the time it took to paint it. it reminds me of an illustration in a book or magazine, I almost coukd see it next to a children’s story.

I love to paint, and it is always a challenge to improve.

Biddulph Grange

Biddulph Grange, once a stately home near Biddulph, staffordshire, then a TB hospital. Now a National trust garden that was rebuilt and uncovered over the last few years.

Made up of garden rooms. Such as the China garden where a beautiful bridge reminiscent of the Spode willow patterns stands over a pool stocked with koi carp. There is a pavilion floating above the water, giving a serene feel to the garden. there is even a great wall taking you round to another aspect if the garden.

There are sphinxes in the Egyptian garden, daliahs in the daliahs walk….so much to see, so many ideas on one place. There is a Swiss cottage, and a frog staring at you from a stone wall. There is a golden calf which must have pagan overtones. The garden was created back in victorion time. I find the best time to visit is when the daliah walk is in flower. It is spectacular to see with the backdrop of a tower leading up to a higher level.

There are tunnels to walk through and various paths winding through the gardens. At the top of the long walk up the slope from the main building is a huge urn standing at the very top of the hill. You can look back and see the grounds spread out in front of you.

If you are in the vicinity why not call in?

 

 

Chelsea flower show

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Chelsea flower show was on this week. A garden based on a Yorkshire cottage garden and surrounding countryside won the people’s prize.

The show is built every year. Each garden is planted up over the week or so before the show opens. Ancient trees are planted. Plants are either kept warm to bring them into flower early, or kept cold to stop them flowering too soon.

There are small and large gardens and indoor displays. Plants from around the world burst with colour.

At the end if the show the plants are sold off, or the gardens are dismantled and planted up at their new homes. I think it is a wonderful thing. People seem to love it. The fact that each garden is designed, and innovative ideas are shown to the world is a good thing. Art of whatever type should be showcased. Gardening is such a massive industry and it has expanded over the years. Fashions start with shows like Chelsea. Purple onion flowers were very fashionable a few years ago. The next year everyone had them…..

Enough rambling……wool gathering…have a great weekend.

Sketches at Dorothy Clive Garden

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I like taking a small sketchbook with me when I visit interesting places, its easy to snap a few photos on my phone, but much more challenging to sit for 20 to 30 minutes sketching the view.

Dorothy Clive Garden is beautiful. Even at this time of year when there are mainly spring flowers and the perrenials are not out yet you can see the towering trees, Bluebells, Magnolia’s and Rhododendrons.

We walked up to the tearoom and sat and drank coffee and ate icecream while the Sun (unusually for a Bank holiday weekend) shone down. It was so hot Richard bought me a wide brimmed hat from the gift shop.

I drew the view over the lawn to a low hedge where you can see evergreen trees and branches of deciduous trees just coming into leaf. In the distance was the misty blue grey hills of Shropshire. Over the ridge is a little village called Loggerheads.

Then we walked into the quarry garden. The blackbirds and robins were singing loudly. If you follow the sound of flowing water along the paths edged with Camellia, Rhododendron, Bluebells and other flowers which are just starting to open in the spring sunlight, you round a corner and see a tree that has been cut down to a stump that is still about 15 foot tall.

The stump has had the outline of a woodpecker carved into it, and apparently has had a greater spotted woodpecker (not sure if that’s the right name) living in a hole in it for the last two years.

Follow the sound further and you find the waterfall that runs from the back of the quarry down into its bowl. It is a man made feature but still lovely. I sat and sketched it, getting lost in how to represent the vegetation against the darkened rocks.

Finally we picked up some plants for the garden that we had bought earlier and walked down the slope to the pool at the bottom of the garden. This looks like it has recently been re-lined and the black liner is visible round the edges. Looking back up the hill various evergreen trees and bushes are visible, together with the new growth of Gunnera, which will grow massive over the summer. The pool is lacking its water lilies but they should be back soon. Halfway up the hill is a little wooden summer house or pavillion. The view is splendid from there.

3 drawings were enough. It was hot and I needed a drink. But I know I will go back again soon.

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Trees and views

Leaves unfurl and block the view,                                                     the sky is shaded out,                                                                           green and orange, and yellow too,                                                    they cast their shade about.

Atop a hill, those huge trees grew,                                                     their roots spread wide no doubt,                                                           and round their branches… true                                                       delight I see the fields sprout.

Now came old autumn, when leaves flew,                                       they were madly strewn about,                                                          the world is seen as if anew,                                                                and “slumber trees!” I shout.

I’m not good at rhyming. I prefer blank verse, but I thought I would have a go at making a more traditional poem.

“View” and “Out” are such simple words…you can probably think of far more rhymes for them than I can. The poem is based on a visit to the Dorothy Clive Garden today. The leaves are starting to fill in the gaps between the branches and twigs, and some views will disappear until the leaves fall again in October or November, when the world beyond them will be revealed again. I think you can see three counties, Staffordshire, Cheshire and Shropshire can be seen from the top of the quarry garden there.

It’s a beautiful place if you feel like visiting it.