Smelling the flowers

“One day, that garden will consume you”, said a friend in response to a photo of my drawing location for the day. The lavender is already blocking my way to the end of the garden… but my reward for climbing over it is a glorious cloud of perfume.

As I wiggle my chair into position on the uneven ground where flower bed meets grass meets shrub, I brush the flowers again as I settle to draw. Lavender needs a lot of subtle colour, each bud blending from grey-green to mauve, fresher frills of colour peeping out every few buds or so. I never know what will join me – today, a hoverfly.

The sweet peas are needing regular harvesting now to keep flowering. The pink variety has the vivid perfume but the overwhelming top note as I draw is the fennel growing between.

The verbena is a surprise, its scent distant, like the memory of a flower. Mauve at first glance, its flower heads are full of colour, deep red below the square-edged little flowers.

In always-on life, my moment with nature is always time well spent. And even though I’m in the garden to look, it’s a chance to smell the flowers.

Biro, watercolour, fineliner, on waste paper.

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