Ahead of the equinox

The flowers have declared it Spring. And who am I to argue? In bud last week, the first tulips are fully-open in the morning sun. By the time I go out to draw them, they’re closing for the day, speedy sketching a race to catch the tricorn hat of yellow … Read More

All the purples

After April’s rain in May, sudden sunshine – and everywhere, purple… There’s a lot more to the irises’ purple than a first glance suggests. Glossy buds like tightly-rolled satin are almost-black in the shade. Big, blowsy petals need layers, some blue and pink, to build up their brilliance on waste coated … Read More

Hello, mini meadow

Well, not a meadow as such… but a lot more interesting than it was when it was a lawn. I’ve been doing No Mow May for the flowers and the bees – but even in less-than-reliable weather, allowing the grass to do its own thing has given me all sorts of … Read More

Wallowing in nature

These are noisy, scattered, uncertain times. Now and again, some stillness is called-for – and that’s a challenge. Even before the pandemic, I was terrible at doing nothing. But I can wallow endlessly in nature. Put me by a plant and I can lose myself in its miniature community of wildlife. … Read More

First flush, last knockings

Before I started this project, I would think of the gardening season as something with a beginning, a middle and an end. But reporting from my garden in sketches, I’ve realised that there are many stories and cycles, all happening at once – and sometimes on the same plant. I … Read More

One day, these will be…

Cucamelons. No, I have no idea why I sowed these either, though goodness knows, come seed catalogue time I was ready for some frivolity. And glamorous they are, mini vines, already throwing out their first fronds. The black hollyhocks will, if they do well, be ink. Growing in wavy formation, they’re … Read More

Bluebells – my bit of countryside in the city

Bluebells. I didn’t plant them – they just… arrived. What I’ve always loved about them, apart from that earthy, petally scent on a woodland walk, is their almost-purple. Drawing them, I notice deep blue too, where flower joins stem. Dark stamens show off zingy pollen. Green takes on mauve in stem … Read More

Reporting from an urban garden

This is the launch month for Dispatches from a Small World so I give you… the whole garden! I’ve been drawing all of it periodically, when I spot something new. I notice what dusk does to the greens, how snow highlights the kind of garden it is – and at … Read More

On drawing in the rain

You’ll find me drawing a lot of tulips at this time of year and these, which I’m growing for the first time, do that wonderful thing in nature of no two flowers, or leaves, being of the same stripe, which, I always think, tells us something about beauty. But that’s … Read More

Garden colour, garden ink

I plant daffs in my garden and then the prevailing wind blows them over – so finally, after years of this happening, I’ve planted tiny narcissi instead. I never really thought about the subtleties of their shape until I started drawing them. They vary hugely, from centres like pleated skirts to … Read More

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