Berry bonus, mini trees

On late Autumn days of mud and gaps, the garden seems spent. But on a warmer-than-it-looks Saturday, nature coaxes me to the far end, where berries drop and ivy sprawls. There, purple-black and glossy among lime green leaves, is one jasmine berry. Eyes tuned, I look up, at the holly … Read More

Texture to colour

I’ve started my drawing day bimbling around sketching the lilies given to me by a kind neighbour, partly because I promised myself that I would and partly as an excuse not to go outside. It’s chilly. This should be no surprise – it’s November. But in this year’s strange climate, it … Read More

A surprise harvest

It’s clearing day for the sunflowers. The squirrel has done its best to hurl itself at the one seed head spared by wind and rain but there’s a full head of seeds, which I hook over a tree for the birds. Tough stems cleared and saved for plant supports, I … Read More

Nature’s fireworks

A dark, dank day has me reaching for soft-toned, soft-textured paper. Not, it’s called – a tactile surface somewhere between smooth and rough. It was my dad’s choice for watercolours (I always wondered at the ‘not’) and today, it’s mine because I have small things to draw, in a posy foraged … Read More

Snails’ pace

Snails. They have a reputation for slowness. But after overnight rain they’re making the most of a garden going over, edibles ready for last harvests and composting. I spot a yellowing squash leaf teeming with them. It’s a bit like a one-minute pose in a life drawing class – swift marks, … Read More

New leaves

Blustery showers blow leaves and windfalls into the garden so I head out in search of Autumn colour. I’m diverted by the hydrangea. Topped with dry flowers that owe more to a parched Summer than seasonal turn, it’s grateful for the rain. Pairs of buds are tucked into each pair … Read More

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

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