Tickled pink

Two brooches I’ve made that seem suited to the warm weather!

The garden is bursting with pinks and reds at the moment, as well as fabulous shapes, so I’ve had plenty of inspiration.

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The Garden House

Alex and I made the most of the sunny weather by visiting The Garden House, a ten acre garden near Yelverton, in Devon.

The original house was built for the vicars of the parish, including the former Abbot of Buckland Abbey, who became vicar after the dissolution of the monasteries in the 1500s. A modern vicarage was built in the 1920s and The Garden House was sold as a private dwelling.

When the house and gardens came on to the market again in the 1940s, they were purchased by Lionel and Katharine Fortescue, who created the gardens whilst running a thriving market garden business. After their deaths, the Garden House was bequeathed to a charity to maintain their legacy.

The Garden House features both naturalistic planting and more traditional arrangements, making it a beautifully varied place to visit.

Here’s a sample of what was on offer (click to enlarge):

Back after a break!

Hello everyone, it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted but I’m looking forward to blogging more frequently from now on.

Since I last posted, I’ve been enjoying retirement – lots more time for creativity, gardening, friends and family!

My daughter, Isla, has been dealing with a difficult health condition and has started her own blog where she talks about her experiences and posts her own artwork, you can find her at Medically Unexplained.

I spent a week staying with my son a few weeks back, and visited Hillier Gardens in Hampshire. The seasonal planting displays are stunning and I’m feeling very inspired by all the colours and patterns.

An Ocean of Foxgloves

I went for a walk in the local forest a few weeks ago and came across this glorious patch of purple. This area had been cleared last year, and the foxgloves seem to have wasted no time in colonising!

Foxglove 5Unfortunately, there was no way to get a better view (though I did consider sending Alex up a tree), but hopefully these photos will convey some of the drama.

Foxglove 6

Solitary Pale Bloom

A lone spire of white amongst the purple. 

Foxglove 3

Digitalis purpurea (Common Foxglove)

Foxglove 4

Wilsey Down Forest

Foxglove 2

Clearing in the conifers


Chelsea Physic Garden

I recently paid a delightful visit to Chelsea Physic Garden, the first time I had been there in many years. For those who love plants, this is one of London’s great hidden treasures. Being someone who is inspired by natural forms, I found many unusual shapes and textures that can serve as inspiration for my work but the garden is a great place for anyone to visit.Physic_garden_3Chelsea Physic Garden is one of the oldest horticultural establishments in the world. It was founded in 1673 by the Society of Apothecaries as a place to train apprentices in growing and using medicinal plants.Physic_garden_8Physic_garden_9Physic_garden_10 Physic_garden_5Physic_garden_1 Physic_garden_6 Physic_garden_4 Physic_garden_2 Physic_garden_7Despite its long history, the garden only opened to the general public in 1983. Prior to that time it was almost exclusively a place for scientists and students to study and today the garden remains a centre for education and scientific research.

Back to Eden

Thanks to the beautiful weather we’ve been enjoying, we’ve taken full advantage of our Eden Project Local Passes. I always spot something new and unexpected, which makes the visits fantastic for firing up my imagination and creativity.
I thought I’d share some of my photos for those of you who are a bit further afield – I hope you enjoy!

Eden Project PlantEden Project Plant Eden Project Plant Eden Project Plant Eden Project Plant Eden Project Plant Eden Project Plant Eden Project Plant Eden Project Plant Eden Project Plant Eden Project PlantEden Project PlantFor more Eden photos, have a look at these posts (back when the weather wasn’t quite so good!):
Gardens of Eden
More Eden

Fantastic Fungi

As a child I was always fascinated by mysterious old Chinese medicine shops with all their weird and wonderful bits of dried and shrivelled Nature. Most interesting of all were the different dried mushrooms that, depending on type, could be used for correcting health problems, or added to an unusual and healthy-giving dish in the kitchen. I still love the look of fungi today in both their living and dried forms. (Or more accurately, as my husband tells me, the fruiting bodies of fungi.)

Lingzhi - The mushroom of immortality!

Lingzhi – The mushroom of immortality!

The last time I visited Hong Kong I photographed some fungi in a health shop which stirred up even more childhood associations. These were the mushroom known as “Lingzhi” which featured in many of the books I read in my youth. This rare fungus (Ganoderma lucidum) has been used in Chinese medicine for 2,000 years and many accounts attributed it with life extending powers. In more recent times it has found a regular place in literature as a fabled elixir of life, and featured in many of the Martial Arts novels I read in my teens. Seeing them lying in a shop, piled in an old cardboard box, rather spoiled the myth!

Lingzhi (Ganoderma lucidum)

Lingzhi (Ganoderma lucidum)

Lingzhi (Ganoderma lucidum) Legend of my youth

Lingzhi (Ganoderma lucidum) Legend of my youth

Another type of dried fungus

Another type of dried fungus

I also love fungi growing in nature, where they can suddenly appear like exotic aliens overnight. I have now tried to start photographing any new types I see, though our voracious Cornish slugs seem to attack and disfigure many before I get there.