Oddly oblong

I went out to draw the fennel. Over the week. It’s been showing me how its umbrellas escape their rolls of leaf and today, there are tiny yellow bobbles of flower, a few starting to throw out pollen for the pollinators (for which I use an bit of kitchen scourer dipped in liquid watercolour).

But I'm distracted by my giant sunflowers greeting the morning sun. They're the first I've ever grown successfully. Sometimes I wonder how such enormous things don’t blow over. Today, looking as I draw, I notice the ribbed stems, like a piece of tubular knitting, each leaf joining with its own rib, adding to the heft of the whole.

After a week of rain and sun, the hydrangeas are popping out their first flowers. I feel I should sketch a classic flower head, showing every stage from little green pumpkin bud to three or four petalled flower. The flower heads I really want to draw, though, are the strange ones, oblong, with a flower at each corner. So with five minutes to spare before I have to dash out, I do.

In a world that so often sees beauty only in the expected, it’s cheering to be reminded that nature is wildly, gloriously odd.

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

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

On my Teemill shop, watercolour and line sketches on t-shirts and tote bags.