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

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

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

Hovering

I draw very quickly – gestural sketches that are more about the essence of a thing than its detail. But drawing little creatures also needs me to be still, seeing what lands, noticing how it moves, taking in as much visual information as I can, as quickly as I can, in … Read More

Quiet work

There’s show, and there’s the quietly impressive stuff that the garden does when I’m not looking… I’ve grown my first giant sunflowers this year. After a decade of tending them at a community garden, it’s only working from home, with the same view through the day, that I’ve noticed that … Read More

Early to rise

Warmth! Early to rise, I’m out in the garden when everything gets going. Spotting a snail curled around a spent daffodil leaf, I scurry for some paper and settle with my coffee. The snail, of course, is now travelling in a straight line but soon it’s on the curl again. … Read More

Come the creatures

A glorious Easter Saturday. Years of community gardening taught me to seize the day – and in drawing, I have to seize the moment. Once tulips get to that louche stage when they throw their petals around, they only need the slightest gust of wind to shrug them off. As they … Read More

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

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

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

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