Garden at work

In holiday season, I find myself hard at work on things with Autumn deadlines. I’m in good company, the late August garden heavy with productivity…

Snails’ work is not something I enjoy, in the normal run of things. But pausing to draw one that I’d spotted in the courgette patch, I found new appreciation as it crafted its way along the leaf, its nibbles making delicate cutwork and its trail adding silver tracery.

Mallow grown from seeds given to me by Cordwainers Dye has suddenly found its late Summer mojo. At first glance ordinary, its leaves are semi-circular and its tiny clusters of buds sculptural.

And if I hadn’t been drawing the mallow, I’d have missed a newcomer springing up at its base – the extraordinary leaves of a burgundy oxalis (I had to look it up). It took three layers of watercolour to bring out its complicated rust-bronze-green. But what brought the plant? In family gardening tradition, I’ll call it a present from the birds.

Read my article about Dispatches from a Small World in Sublime magazine.

My April illustration of the whole garden is on show at Town House Open, Spitalfields, London, from 10 July until 12 September.