Pods and pollinators

I’ve been doing No Mow May. Showers forecast, I should cut the grass before it turns into a June jungle. But as it’s grown, so has my love for its floral loveliness, self-seeded nigella dotted amongst the daisies. So I honour it with a sketch, in early morning, daisies tinged with pink before opening time.

The buttercups have chosen the lemon balm as their home. Ordinary flowers, they’re easy to take for granted but the pollinators, here, a hoverfly, make me look again. The warmth and shine of the yellow reminds me of the childhood game of holding buttercups to our chins – a yellow reflection meant that we liked butter. They’re vivid so I reach for a watercolour pastel and as I brush on water, I notice that I’m picking up pastel dust like pollen.

I thought I’d covered the wonderful strangeness of the aquilegia. But now it’s setting sculptural, alien-creature seed – and showing me how it’s done. Petals elegantly discarded, the sepals become the stars, winding up and around, with a flourish of fronds at the top. I’ll be saving some seeds to pass along to an artist friend so it seems right to watch their progress.

Drawings done, time to mow. Or not… I’ve cut a curve around my tiny urban flower meadow.

Ballpen, watercolour, watercolour pencil, watercolour pastel and fineliner 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. 

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