Poppy time is my favourite time of the summer. First the buds swell, then split. Papery petals unfurl and stretch. Like butterfly wings emerging from its chrysalis.
Poppies are my favourite flowers, to see their cheery heads waving in the breeze in a cornfield, or along the grass verges of motorways. Their lovely flowers help feed the bees, and their pepper pot seed heads spread thousands of seeds everywhere. I love breaking the dried seed heads off and scattering the tiny grains of seed all around the garden. They don’t always grow where they are sown, but like disturbed ground and can lie dormant in the soil, which is why they can appear on building sites and why they bloomed in Flanders fields.
Poignant reminded of war. Pretty flower, or even narcotic. Poppies have power.
We have lots of apples this year, some from our trees and others from a glut of apples from local gardeners. My partner bought a couple of bags. We also had some damsons this year off a tree. If you look closely, hiding in the front of my fruit bowl, are three tiny tomatoes which I grew (they didn’t do so well this year).
What to do with them? Last week I made an Apple lattice pie, this time I stewed some of the apples and damsons with a bit of water and some artificial sweetener that you can use in cooking. The result was a pink fluffy mess of stewed apples…
What to have with them? I could have served them with cream, or icecream, or custard. But I decided to try some shop bought organic rice pudding. The result was delicious.
I wish we grew more crops, we got some good red peppers, and a cucumber this year. I might try growing some courgettes and marrows next year. We also grow raspberries and the next door neighbour has wild blackberry canes growing into our garden so I also pick those. One thing that didn’t grow this year was some onion sets off a friend. I think out garden is too overshaded by trees that have grown up. We may have to cut the trees back a bit. We have also grown potatos in the past. That’s something else to grow next year.
Work in progress on a painting of a thistle against old brickwork. It’s good how life can spring from cracks in the pavement or up from old guttering. The world tries to take over for our concrete and brick….
It’s been a mixed year for my back yard flowers. The handling baskets wilted in the heat but then I thoroughly watered them and fed them and they came back quite well. The Begonias, Fushias and Petunias have flourished but the Lobelia and small flowered plants have struggled. You can see a towel rail in the midst of it all, that’s because the tomatoes have flopped, and its supporting them and a cucumber plant.
Next year I want to tidy up the space first. Next doors wild blackberries are sneaking through the fence, but we just pick the fruit and have them on our cereal in the morning.
I love mixing colours and the whole yard sparkles with blues, reds and oranges, I hope the bees like it as much as I do.
Some paintings I did are at my relatives house so I don’t see them very often. The painting I did of Jupiter is there. I do think it looks a bit “knitted”. I would love to do some paintings based on the latest images. I think that it would be very difficult to accurately copy the atmosphere of Jupiter. Saturn’s rings would be equally difficult to render.
The other paintings are: a picure of our garden before it got madly overgrown. Two paintings of Bovisand, out over Plymouth sound and looking inland at the geology of the rocks. My husband standing under an old arch on the isle of Portland. A watercolour of a place called Jennycliff, which is on the south east side of Plymouth.
And finally a snow scene that I painted in the 1980’s. It was meant to represent the steppes and has Russian style onion domes in the background. I’m not sure where I got my idea from. I was reading Frank Herberts “Dune” trilogy at the time and I had never seen an image of the steppes…. But to me that’s part of what being an artist is about, pictures in your mind that you are trying to represent.
This was my back yard last year. Everything was lush and green with lots of colour. This year things are not as good, some plants are wilting in the heat, others have only just survived. I haven’t taken photos of them because its all a bit messy. Still I will persevere. We might be getting some rain on Sunday if we are lucky.
There may be some thunderstorms east of us but nothing due here. It’s so strange, we are a wet country usually. We are normally known for complaining about cold wet summers, and grey dismal winters.
Climate change? I don’t know. But something is going on.
Multiply up all the gardens in the country where the plants are struggling. Then think of all the farms that are having trouble, having to feed hay and winter food stocks to there animals because there is not enough grass for them. It’s not normal. While over in Europe temperatures have risen above 40°C.
But we are lucky in comparison with other parts of the world. Terrible floods, droughts. The world’s temperature has risen since the turn of the millennium.
We are worried by plastic in the oceans, maybe we should really worry about the climate before its too late. Climate scientists have reported that the weather could actually become so hot that we end up in a “hot house Earth” scenario.
If not for our generation, but for future ones we need to stop listening to business people whose interest is short term gain and move to a more balanced, less greedy world. If that means that rich western countries should share technology with the whole world then that’s what we should do. Rant for the day over. ..