New leaf

There’s a point in the year when everything bursts into leaf. Trees sparkle. Winter-dull shrubs are tipped with perky green. The hydrangea, pruned of its dried flowers last week, is all furl and curl. Pairs of leaves hinge out from stalks speckled with the pink of its Summer plumage. The … Read More

Three stripes and a gorilla

While waiting for a glacially-slow backup to run – my other life is as a designer – I seek entertainment in the garden and there it is, in tulip form. The parrot tulips show their stripes early. I had drawn smart green buds a week ago, presenting themselves like two-tone ties. Now, … Read More

Garden ink

Sun, rain, sun, rain… though Spring is a week away, it’s making the garden pop with fresh colour. My starting points for this week’s sketches are natural ink washes. It’s interesting having a base note of the main colour in the plant I’m sketching – it frees me to look at … Read More

All the purples

After April’s rain in May, sudden sunshine – and everywhere, purple… There’s a lot more to the irises’ purple than a first glance suggests. Glossy buds like tightly-rolled satin are almost-black in the shade. Big, blowsy petals need layers, some blue and pink, to build up their brilliance on waste coated … Read More

Hello, mini meadow

Well, not a meadow as such… but a lot more interesting than it was when it was a lawn. I’ve been doing No Mow May for the flowers and the bees – but even in less-than-reliable weather, allowing the grass to do its own thing has given me all sorts of … Read More

Wallowing in nature

These are noisy, scattered, uncertain times. Now and again, some stillness is called-for – and that’s a challenge. Even before the pandemic, I was terrible at doing nothing. But I can wallow endlessly in nature. Put me by a plant and I can lose myself in its miniature community of wildlife. … Read More

One day, these will be…

Cucamelons. No, I have no idea why I sowed these either, though goodness knows, come seed catalogue time I was ready for some frivolity. And glamorous they are, mini vines, already throwing out their first fronds. The black hollyhocks will, if they do well, be ink. Growing in wavy formation, they’re … Read More

Bluebells – my bit of countryside in the city

Bluebells. I didn’t plant them – they just… arrived. What I’ve always loved about them, apart from that earthy, petally scent on a woodland walk, is their almost-purple. Drawing them, I notice deep blue too, where flower joins stem. Dark stamens show off zingy pollen. Green takes on mauve in stem … Read More

Reporting from an urban garden

This is the launch month for Dispatches from a Small World so I give you… the whole garden! I’ve been drawing all of it periodically, when I spot something new. I notice what dusk does to the greens, how snow highlights the kind of garden it is – and at … Read More

On drawing in the rain

You’ll find me drawing a lot of tulips at this time of year and these, which I’m growing for the first time, do that wonderful thing in nature of no two flowers, or leaves, being of the same stripe, which, I always think, tells us something about beauty. But that’s … Read More

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