Visitors in May

I thought I was done with drawing the aquilegia. But brava! Here they are, in the sunshine, like a visiting troupe, flowers full-out, all costume and show. And the show brings fans – I sketch in a passing hoverfly...

The buds, though, are like something from the imagination of a science fiction modelmaker, triangular heads with their flower spurs curled inwards. Looking through drawing, I spot the creases where petals are moulded, soon to curl out and colour.

The aquilegia are genuine visitors. The seeds were sent to me by a friend in Wiltshire and they’ve taken a couple of years to get going.

Earlier in the week, I spotted something closer to home. I think of the bluebells as my bit of Kent countryside in the city – and this year, they’ve been joined by a single red campion, a reminder of childhood woodland walks. If a passing bird brings me a wood anemone, I’ll have the full set…

This time, I’ve been drawing on more of my handed-down paper, sturdy stuff, full of texture. After two years of drawing on waste printing paper, I’m re-learning things about ink and paint as I sketch the stories that the garden brings.

Ballpen, watercolour and fineliner on handed-down watercolour paper.

Rose sketches from this project are now available as greeting cards, from the Garden Museum shop in London and at Hackney Wick Underground.

On my Teemill shop: my rose collection of t-shirts and tote bags. 

What does our work sound like? The third episode of Studio Snack, my collaborative podcast with Narcis Sauleda, explores.