In your own time

Some plants make an entrance at the traditional hour. Some arrive fashionably late. And all are worth a second glance…

I always plant more seeds than I need, sharing the seedlings with friends. My spare chillis have been bursting into splendour in a nearby kitchen, while mine have been a bit shy. But at last, the first flower and as I look to draw, I can spot little buds popping out all over the place.

I planted Amaranth late this year, to fill gaps in a bed, so it was touch and go whether it would flower. But today, the first signs of the rich red that will coil outwards from the centre and freshly-seen, each lime green leaf finished with a fine red edge.

I’d given up on the sedum, bought from a plant stall and nibbled by who-knows-what. But as I draw the Amaranth, there it is, tiny yellow flower heads and leaves arranged like a textile pattern.

And in the alpine strawberry troughs, earmarked for a quick crop before bulb planting time, a beautiful red berry and a chance to look at the neat, tightly-packed seeds in its unripe neighbour.

So even in mid-August, when the garden is getting a little unkempt, it’s full of surprises to draw.

Biro, watercolour, fineliner, on waste paper.

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.