Tiny trees

“So how do holly trees have babies?” I had been telling a group of friends about a new generation that I was off to draw. Presents from the birds, we used to call them in my family – plants that arrive, neither sown, nor planted by us. It’s the wood pigeons … Read More

Green shoots, three ways

Fog. It’s the sort of bone cold grey day that never quite clears… But as I clip and shape the hebes, determined to have some time outdoors on a working Saturday, I get my eye in. Out from the murk shine shoots of iris, their surface-sitting roots like ginger. Undisturbed … Read More

Inside out, outside in

A soggy Saturday calls for drawing what I have indoors… And that starts with a view, surprisingly zingy, through raindrop-scattered geraniums. I bought them last year when desperate for windowsill colour. They’re flanked by two houseplants put out because I’m so terrible with them that however chilly it is, they’ll … Read More

At the turn of the year

Sometimes I go out into the garden with a story in mind. As often, I’ll draw what I’m given. And at the turn of the year, a flurry of toasts, hopes and fireworks, it’s soothing to see what nature’s up to on this unseasonably-mild day. The Forsythia is exuberantly in … Read More

Endings and beginnings

Boxing Day, garden glossed by rain, is a chance to see what the whole garden is up to. At a time of year that seems all about endings, its shapes, patterns, textures and colours speak of a place in perpetual motion. Peeking out from the late Winter hydrangea, handsome with … Read More

Short day, bright things

On dark days, this, near the Winter Solstice and dark of news to match, I’m happy to see any glimmer of brightness that the garden will offer. Here, bobbing in the chilly breeze, the first snowdrop of Winter. It’s a few weeks early, brought, perhaps, by mild weather but it … Read More

Prunings

I’m terrible at pruning roses. My late mum taught me to sculpt them, looking for the directions of the buds. But I let stems ramble until they’re finished with flowering, reach to trim them and accidentally, take off a stem still in flower. These opening buds, stopped in their tracks … Read More

Signs of life

This time of year, much of the garden is a palette of browns. Twigs. Bark. Seeds left out for the wildlife. But there’s more going on… The eucalyptus tree in the garden behind mine sheds its bark, wind blowing in curls of it, like chocolate shavings. I pick one up … Read More

Faded grandeur

In my urban garden, faded has its own grandeur. Once vivid, the roses are blooming in soft pastels edged with cherry pink, some round like little peonies, others presenting their petals to the garden. The jasmine’s sharp green leaves have only now taken on tones of russet, their rolls and … Read More

Starting with a tiny toadstool

I’ve been trying to draw it all week – a tiny toadstool in the improvised grow-bag that was home to the courgettes and now, with no intervention from me, hollyhocks. Studio work has come first but today, its neighbour nibbled, I’ve grabbed the last of the daylight and crouched down to … Read More

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