Rabbits’ ears and roses

Rabbits’ ears. That’s what we called these soft, furry leaves when I was a kid. I was going to write ‘so visiting the plant sale at Copped Hall in Epping, I couldn’t resist buying some’ – but I can never resist a plant sale. I sketch them before planting them in … Read More

Going again

I had planned to draw the sage. But the pull of the borage was too much. After a Summer too hot for it, it’s going again and the flowers are what I call ‘hot blue’ – a vivid, almost-purple that needs layers and blends of colour. Its buds and leaves are … Read More

A September welcome

Home in London after a week away, I head into the garden expecting something – well – Autumnal. Mellow fruitfulness, that sort of thing. As I get my eye in to draw, what it gives me is Autumnal but more in the sartorial sense, when nobody knows quite what to wear. It’s … Read More

Keeping on

It’s been a sombre week. As I step into the garden, I’m not quite sure what I’m looking for. Permanence, maybe? Timelessness? No – nature shows me something else. Just as the giant sunflower heads dry, two smaller sunflowers are bursting into bud, tight little knots of fresh green on hairy … Read More

After the rain

Snail poo. It’s not what I expect to be drawing on a Saturday morning. Wandering out into the garden to see what the week’s welcome rain has brought, I spot a snail – well, half a snail, peeking out from a squash leaf, and I’m not entirely sure which half I’m … Read More

Late Summer colour

I go into the garden to draw a one-out, one-in story about new growth and moulted feathers. But today, the garden has colours to show me. The fennel is reaching its mid-point between flower and seed. It’s full of colour I’m not expecting – dusty blue, turquoise, mauve, blended with … Read More

Plot hot

The garden hangs heavy in the mid-August heat. This month has always been the month when leaves drip, petals curl, fruit blushes – but today is not, was not, London-hot. And yet my one ripe tomato is doing its thing, green to yellow to pink, its neighbour just starting to get … Read More

Morning, garden!

Early, pottering through tasks, lists in my head, the garden calls me outside with my coffee. The second sunflower is out, glowing in the morning sun. Taller than the first, it’s thrown its petals back, like some young buck with a pot of hair gel. The bees are already at … Read More

Setting fruit, setting seed

The garden is a place in perpetual motion. But sometimes, what stops me in my tracks is the sheer joy of plants’ engineering… I love how hollyhocks just keep going, throwing out flowers at one end from their dumpling buds and setting seed at the other. The cucumber is climbing … Read More

Full fluoro in July

It’s 8.30am. I wander out with my coffee, my improvised cardboard offcut drawing board, handed-down paper, biro, white fineliner, watercolours, a jam jar of water, my favourite brush held together with impact adhesive and hope – and a fist-full of highlighters. The reason? Nasturtiums. Even just peeping out from their grey-blue-green … Read More

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