Saturday 27 May 2023

RHS Chelsea week...and in my garden - all the As (along with a few others)

Chelsea Garden photos from the RHS Chelsea website
I have been enjoying the TV coverage of RHS Chelsea over the last week.  It is always interesting to see what the designers, construction teams and gardeners come up with.  I haven't ever visited the show myself, nor am I likely to - way too many people for comfort!  Sustainability, gardening with nature and the gardens being relocated after the show seemed to be themes this year, which are all good.  I liked bits of a few gardens including the area above from The Myeloma A Life Worth Living Garden by Chris Beardshaw.  My criteria is 'would I like this outside my back door?'  In the case above, yes I would, a lovely calm green space with ferns and a water feature. 
I also liked the Royal Entomological Society garden by Tom Massey with its wildlife and insect friendly (as you would expect!) planting.  The colours this year seem to be green, white and magenta/purple, and these could be seen on a lot of the gardens. 
There were some beautifully designed, constructed and planted stage sets such as Cleve West's Centrepoint garden, showing how nature takes over a derelict Victorian Terrace and bringing homelessness into focus.  I can appreciate this, but wouldn't want it outside my back door! 

With Chelsea over for another year,  what is happening in my garden?  It's the As - Alliums, Aquilegias and Astrantias.  Above is allium Purple Sensation.
I don't know that name of this allium, but is is another lovely one.  I think I may need more of these in the autumn.
Aquilegia Navy and White was the starting point for my aquilegias but they seem to have changed as they have self seeded about.
I like the darker purple of this one.
I do like an astrantia and have several of the darker ones.  Above is Star of Love or Star of Fire - I'm not sure which. This one is in the border.
Astrantia Burgundy Manor is in a pot and I love this one.  It is a stunner!  I have got three Astrantia Roma young plants growing on, which should be a nice pink shade.  I hope they will flower next year.
Other plants making a show at the moment are Philadelphus Little White Love. This took a while to get going but has started to grow and flower profusely.  As with most Philadelphus, it has a lovely scent.
The peony I repotted last autumn has rewarded me with more flowers than it has ever had.  
My latest camassia, Silk River, is nearly in flower so I am checking it every morning at the moment.   I am really enjoying the garden and the sunny weather has helped a lot, particularly after the cold Spring.  I have lost two agapanthus plants which were overwintered in the shed and obviously did not like the cold snap last December, and a few other small plants, but I am realistic and it just means I can replace them with something else (like another rose?) Funnily enough, I have got my eye on a new rose by David Austin, Dannahue.  I don't really have room for any more roses, but may have to squeeze this one in.  Speaking of roses, they have started flowering, so there will be a couple of posts to come... 

Monday 22 May 2023

Online Art courses

 I enjoy learning new things and art and being creative, so I have recently enrolled in some online art courses.

Photos from Kate Crane's Etsy shop
There is Let's Draw! and...

Photos from Kate Crane's Etsy shop
For The Love Of Circles , both by Kate Crane.  Both of these are reasonably priced and show Kate's love of doodling and whimsical creatures, but also her pattern and watercolour skills.  She designs stamps and stencils for Carabelle Studios.  She is a calm and patient teacher and I am enjoying working my way through the lessons as and when I log in.  I love her style and have enjoyed online classes with her when she was a teacher on Wanderlust, the art journal course I am doing again this year.
I took part in Sketchbook Revival earlier in the year and this showcased many different creators all providing a lesson for a daily sketchbook practice.  I don't always create something every day,  but I try.  There were two artists I was particularly drawn to, so I have signed up for some classes with them.
First is Helen Wells, an abstract artist who is as colourful as her artwork.  She  has a such a positive  attitude, is an enthusiastic teacher and her classes are a joy too.  
Image from Helen Wells' website
I have done Art Journal Joy, where you create a sketchbook, using a black and white collage for inspiration and experimenting with shape, colour and lines.  I have ended up with a book full of pattern and colour, one which I can add to if I would like to and the knowledge that I can make more and more of these books to experiment, enjoy and have fun making.
Image from Helen Wells' website
I am currently working on Objects to abstracts, which is about creating a still life image with objects you like from around the home and then creating abstract paintings from them.
The final course I have enrolled in is another teacher from Sketchbook Revival, Joanne Sharpe. She combines watercolours and lettering. I have signed up to Art Sparks 16, which is a follow on from her Sketchbook Revival lesson. 
Also, Index Card a Day run by Daisy Yellow Art starts on 1st June, where there is a daily prompt (if you want to use it) in order to inspire the creation of an index card sized piece of art every day until the end of July. I have done this for the last three years and it does encourage me to use my art stash.
So, I have plenty going on in my creative life - I love it!

Thursday 18 May 2023

Apple Blossom and other late Spring flowers

The blossom on my little patio apple tree has been lovely this year.  It looks as though I may get a good crop although a lot of the developing fruit will fall in June (the 'June drop').  I will also have to remove some if the branches are pulled down too much by the weight.
Magnolia Fairy Blush has been lovely again this year, with the delicate lemony fragrance wafting about on a sunny day.  
It was moved to the patio when we had the scaffolding for the roof up and there is no room for it to go back in its original place now as we have a log store in that space.  I will have to re-jig the patio a bit to fit things in and still allow us space to sit!
The Camassia Blue Candle  have also been lovely.  I now have two big pots of them and will have to spread them into more pots in the autumn.  
However, I think I may try a few in the shady border, where the moisture is a bit more reliable, as they don't like being in pots for too long, as flowering may diminish.
I have three new Camassia plants which I didn't think were going to flower this year but two of them have buds.  They are Camassia Silk River and have lime green buds and a white flower.  I shall be watching them with interest and will post a photo in due course!

Monday 8 May 2023


The tulips have been lovely.  Above are Brown Sugar (new bulbs planted last Autumn).
Ballerina with the sun shining through the petals. These are a few years old and are in the border.
Ronaldo - new bulbs last Autumn and a lovely contrast with the oranges.
Brown Sugar in the sunshine.
Danceline which is either two or three years old. They were caught by the late frost last year but have now been planted in the border.
Here's Danceline again, but a little more open now.
Ballerina looking so colourful...
At the front door, I usually have a pot of tulips - different ones each year.  This year it is Finola, which is a double late tulip.  It is quite incredible!
They have grown in quite interesting angles, but the flowers are very blowsy and do remind me of the old Dutch Masters paintings of tulips.
Here they are in from of the Choisya White Dazzler, which after being repotted last year has sprung into life and has been flowering beautifully.
Finally, these beautiful white tulips were a belated birthday gift from a friend and I really enjoyed having tulips inside the house as well as outside!

Sunday 7 May 2023

Coronation day 2023


Like millions of others, we watched the Coronation yesterday, with all the pomp and ceremony it entails.  To see the Crown Jewels is always a treat.  To watch the 4,000 plus service personnel marching back to the Palace, then cheering the King as he took the salute was really memorable.
We celebrated in a very small way, with some cakes in red, white and blue cases. Whatever people's feelings about the monarchy, it was a day to feel proud to be British.