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

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

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

Seizing the day

On a blustery day, in a pocket of sunshine, I nip out into the garden to collect things blown in for drawing in the warm. But on my way back, I spot a tiny snail on tidying-up duty, working through strawberry leaves in troughs that will host Spring flowers. So … 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

On nature day

It’s nature day at COP26 so I take a look at what nature is doing in the small world of my urban garden. Fashionably late, the cosmos is in flower. I associate it with Summer but looking it up, some varieties are happy in cooler weather. Getting closer to draw, … Read More

In celebration of mess

The temptation to tidy is sometimes overwhelming – but aside from sprawling limbs of ivy and roses to dead-head, this is the season when I let things lie for a bit. This week, the garden has rewarded me with a hidden harvest…. hiding among leaves that looked done-for, I’ve found gorgeous … Read More

Back garden banquet

Holly and Ivy in September… that seems wrong in a “Surely we’re not talking about Christmas yet?” sort of way – but this week’s dispatch is all about the wildlife. Just as the garden has that look that an old college friend describes as “having had one party too many”, it … Read More

Stitch and twirl

I spend a lot of time apologising to spiders at this time of year, their carefully-spun webs across the garden wrecked by one galumphing human. This week, I got to appreciate some of their handiwork without breaking it – two lavender seed heads stitched together, here, with a passing hoverfly. The … Read More

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