....every day, and grow your soul. I hope you like the ideas in this 4 minute video!
Have a good week.
....every day, and grow your soul. I hope you like the ideas in this 4 minute video!
And I hope you might like to browse the site while I take a blog break.
Have a good week.
I was commissioned a few years ago to design a traditional cottage garden for Weir Cottage in Botolph Claydon, Buckinghamshire.
There was only grass and a very narrow path. I made the path appear wider by adding a strip of gravel in a similar colour to the brick to either side, and softened that by planting clumps of the lovely erigeron karvinskianus along it - the flowers are a pinky brick red and sprinkle about in a very naturalistic way.
To the left of the path is a border of blue - catmint, geranium Roxanne, linaria - foxgloves and feverfew (volunteers) were allowed to stay..
Apricots and pinks are predominant on the other side of the path - roses, apricot foxgloves, achillea, lavatera, rock roses and potentilla, and of course alchemilla mollis....you can see the pink foxgloves jumped in too - they were pulled out every now and then - but the feeling was of a relaxed natural mix so we weren't too ruthless about interlopers.
Over the fence is a duckpond with entertaining ducks and geese and a large willow. A fine bit of 'borrowed landscape' looked out on from the windows of the house (and the responsibility of the farmer...).
Looking back down the path from the house. There is a little sitting area surrounded by roses tucked in to the right with a young flowering cherry planted close by for shade. There is a small sunny lawn, a patio, and on the pond side of the house a flourishing herb garden.
A few metres of native species hedging will by now be screening the cars from the lawn you can just see on the left. (The gravel parking area will take several cars.)
What a lovely commission it was, and what a joy to stay there on many happy occasions - such a wrench to leave it, but pastures new....
To view the inside of the house estate agent details are here - do let me know if you decide to buy it!
I do hope it goes to a garden lover..
...and there are another 30 in another tray. All from one packet of native seed sown last autumn and left on the floor of the cold greenhouse to 'stratify'. Primroses germinate better after a period of cold. These are destined for Coronation Wood (see top) next spring, or if the plugs are sturdy enough I may put them in in autumn.
I love growing from seed.
If I want lots of something it's the cheapest, and with most plants, easiest way but it does need patience and attention. In my experience there is no such thing as 'sow and forget'. Drying out on one hot day, a couple of slugs overnight, the neighbour's dog digging - you can lose them all so easily!
If you want large numbers a local nursery may sell you a full tray at almost wholesale price plus carriage. Some wholesalers will take (what to them) are small orders - there may be surcharge - but getting together with other gardeners can make this viable. J Parker at www.dutchbulbs.co.uk is one such. Though they have been known to send the wrong thing....which is maddening when it's a full season or even a year until you find out!
Tomorrow....an idyllic thatched cottage - for sale.
I love the elegant horizontal form of this tree Cornus controversa 'Variegata', seen here from the front door in the late afternoon sunlight today.
I've planted three of them in my front garden in the hope that eventually they will be the stars of the show (they are very slow growing).
I'm taking a chance I know. You don't see many around here and I suspect there might be a reason for that....I once designed a whole garden around an existing tree which very soon after died. I won't say the design fell apart, but it took a lot of repositioning and adjusting to create a satisfactory design after that.
The white daffodils are Thalia and I'm making a note to myself to order 50 more to fill the rest of this bed for next spring.
I've also ordered 50 white foxgloves to plant under the 10 white-bark birch we planted 2 years ago which will gradually change the character of the garden from a predominantly flower garden to a woodland garden.
I'm working towards low(er) maintenance, but with a WOW factor!
It's been a bright, bright day, in more ways than one.
I repainted the red gate (with Crown Solo Scooter Red - I can really recommend this paint - it has stood up well to all weathers for four years..)
It was so dazzling in today's brilliant sunshine I had to wear my sunglasses to do it!
I also repainted the canes for the sweet pea wigwam. I am planting a brilliant pink sweet pea called 'Barry Dare' on these this year.
Should be quite exciting?
We rested our eyes at dinner with this gentle pink table centre.
A pretty cloth and a picnic, and a ten minute drive.
I know a bank where the primrose grows....
Every year about now we go up the glen to The Larach, a pass on the single track road between Loch Long and Loch Eck to a primrose strewn patch on the hillside.
Above us blue blue sky and behind us the hill of tussocky damp grass, primroses thickly growing.
To our right the road, busier than usual as it was a holiday (that means about 10 cars in two hours or so!)
To our left a buzzard silently soaring was the only moving thing.
I love the emptiness and silence.
In front the afternoon light was beautiful on the still bare trees.
In the hot sun, it was utterly, delciously, refreshing and relaxing.
I love it here.
I hope you are having a lovely Easter weekend.
What's with all this sock talk I hear you asking!
Well, just one more photograph - 12 pairs of socks and room for tights (just reduced from 21 pairs to 14 - still too many...but includes 4 winter Heat Gen pairs).
But, importantly, no more than the spaces will hold. Neat, uh?
Funny what will make you happy! My underwear drawer next - no photos - I promise.
Drawer organisers (from £3.99 at Amazon or make your own?)
Lining paper from Ikea in my favourite colour.
Of course this is about a lot more than socks!
But I'm starting with socks and some basic principles -
Number 1 being know what you've got...(Nineteen and a half pairs)
Number 2 is decide how many is enough. (I do a wash two or three times a week, so a week's worth should suffice, so seven, no, I'll make that ten. Plus one pair welly boot socks, and one pair walking shoe socks.)
Number 3 is if necessary,buy more or get rid ( I will get rid of some worn, faded, and bobbly ones or odd ones to the textile recycling bin)
Number 4 is look after what I've got (thus the above pictures)
If you liked Richard Roger's sock drawer you might like this short film of the architect and his late wife Ruth in their spacious home.
I have to remind myself when I see this immaculate home, and when I watch Sarah Raven standing in her glorious garden looking as if she does it all herself - these people have STAFF!
I do not have staff....
It all started with the sock drawer.
Or rather with Richard Roger's sock drawer...
..and these words (you may have read this here before) from an article in The New Yorker by Deborah Copak Kogan -
I opened Richard Rogers’s sock drawer and started to cry. It was beautiful. It
was perfect. It did not only what a good sock drawer should do—organize socks—it
did what great works of art aspire to do. It took the bedlam of everyday life,
organized it with careful attention to spatial harmony, color balance, and
composition, and transformed it from chaos to order, from ordinary to
extraordinary, from a simple container for necessities into a perfect expression
of the artist’s philosophy: minimalism, bright colors, functionality, form.
So I went upstairs and emptied my sock drawer out on the bed.
How many pairs did you say you had?
I have 19 and a half.
Owls are on my mind (see yesterday's post).
This lovely childrens' book is a great favourite with four year old Scott.
Something about the way it is written makes you read it in a very quiet voice, and when we come to the end Scott says
'Can you read it again?'
And I say
- reading to children being one of my favourite things in the world.
before they suddenly flopped, as tulips are wont to do
and a very nice wine
..with a difference.
If you have to structure your own time as I do (as a self employed artist) you may find Donald Miller's Storyline schedule interesting. It is a sheet which you fill in each day - available free from http://storylineblog.com and scroll down the sidebar to Productivity Schedule download.
I've been using it for just a few days and it has been really useful. It helps me focus on what is important to me, it helps me make time for enjoyable things every day (though I do enjoy the work I do!), and it helps me manage my mental energy.
There is a 'mind trick' devised by the psychologist Victor Frankl which I find works remarkably well for me....
Do you think it might work for you?
When you watched yesterday's video did you also experience a prejudice against older people that you didn't know you had?
I was a bit shocked when I realised that I was lowering my expectations because the dancer was 61 years old. I think I can excuse myself up to a point - dancers are usually young etc., but nevertheless it made me think - how often do I do that? Without thinking....and how will I feel if people do that to me? Oh dear.
You may enjoy this post from the ever enthusiastic Gretchen Rubin. I love her enthusiasm. Do you agree with what she says about it?
Roger Billcliffe Gallery in Glasgow has just taken delivery of ten of my Harris collages. You can see some under Simply Paint (though these are mostly sold now). I will post some photographs of the newest ones when I get back from a short blog break....
Do have a good weekend.
My head is still full of ballet and Tchaikovsky and of course I've been browsing You Tube - everything is there.
Here is a 4 minute video which amazed and delighted me. Maya Plisetskaya's interpretetation of the dying swan is very moving - and those arm movements in the first few moments....how does she do that?
(It made me realise how ageist I am. See if you know what I mean....)
We saw Moscow Ballet's Swan Lake last night (a delightful Mothers Day gift - thank you both!). It is surely one of the loveliest of the fairy tale ballets. Nadezda Ivanova was a wonderful Odette/Odille but I think my favourite part is the corps de ballet in the moonlight in Act 2 - the music, the costumes, the synchronisation - enchantment!
This was the traditional Petipa choreography - see 4 min clip here. Have any of you seen Matthew Bourne's version with the male swans?
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)