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 give it a closer look. It’s an exquisite little thing, fine radial ribs and tidy edging.

On a working Sunday too short for a walk, nature has come to me. Earlier in the day, I’d disturbed the fox that sleeps under one of the shrubs, bounding away from my human, washing-toting bustle.

Next to its lodgings, the verbena, once bright mauve, has turned to heather, grey-green to ginger to mauve. I’ve yet to work out how to collect its seeds but it knows what to do – there’ll be new growth come Spring.

And as I look for a rose to snip, leaves glow out at me, drying through every colour of the palette.

The waste paper I’m using is coated for print. Vibrant just for a moment, the colours dry back and their hues shift. So I pile on the layers of colour as I pile on my own layers against the chill.

Ballpen, watercolour and fineliner on waste paper.

I’ve been illustrating some bigger habitats for 26 Habitats, a project by writers’ organisation 26 with The Wildlife Trusts. There's a Q&A on my work here.

In my Teemill shop, my Winter range, sketched from saved seeds and snippings of plants brought indoors, printed to order on organic cotton garments and delivered in plastic-free packaging.