Before we made our way back to Luxembourg airport, we had some time in our day to fit in art. There's always time for art. Oh, it was a toasty day. Check out sis's video and you can catch a moment of our sweltering walk to this expansive glass building. We visited the Mudam Modern Art Museum, where there was an exhibition featuring the work of artist Susumu Shingu. Continuous streams of water jetted out from multiple squiggly lengths. It was quite mesmerizing to watch how it all synched in tandem, each arching arm making way for the next. The sculptural forms are 'underpinned by the harmonious quest for the rhythms and vibrations of nature', delicately melding the elements of water, wind, light and rain,
Curved yellow strips in the air billowed like chip sails, in search of an island awash with condiments. We're only missing a giant burger akin to the inflatable found at Supermarket Sweep. That would've been the bonus I'd have picked, had I been old enough to make it on the show. Or, seeing as I'm taking it back. watching Get Your Own back straight after school, to see over-sized chips being caber-tossed into a huge chip box costume. I may have digressed slightly. All this talk of potato goodness. While we're here talking food, we'll take it to the next course. For dessert, let's go with an Indian sweet I'm quite fond called halwa. It's fair to refer to it as the 'paper' dessert, what with it's sheet-like appearance. A page you'd happily bookmark or on this occasion, tear off a corner to nibble. Ethereal white pods floated overhead, with the flat panels reminiscent of this sweet treat.
Colourful kite structures were suspended delicately from the ceiling. They were almost like staggered paint palettes, splashed with primary shades and contrasted with sections in black. The blue hanging reminds me of an expansive lily pad, folded elegantly on itself at the edges. The shape is also reminiscent of the Monstera Deliciosa leaf, pierced with Swiss cheese holes, Either way, I'd like to glide into the air and hop effortlessly from one pad to the other. Many different things come to mind when I see such art forms, which you can probably tell by now. This feels like a good place to share my musings. It's great how art can be so subjective and offer a variety of interpretations...or even have what's on your mind at the time influence the picture. The constellation of yellow cheese slices would make a great feature in that aforementioned burger. Food, yes. Seeing food in pretty much everything...
Following the path around the staircase, we found these plump creations entitled 'Speakers', by the artist Katinka Bock. Formed from clay, indented bean bags of the stony kind come to mind. The brown suede-like appearance and colour of the ball has a cocoa bean feel about. Or better still, milk and white chocolate orbs. A concept of the sweet stuff scaled up to giant snow ball proportions? Yes, please. So much foodstuff comes to mind, I could be here a while. There's an Indian sweet called peda (or penda, as we call them). which cracks in the same way clay does when moulded. Ras malai deserves a mention too, without a doubt. The Diwali feels are staying with me. Then there's classic dough balls. I'm thinking Pizza Express. Yum. I know they do a sweet cinnamon-dusted version for the festive time of the year, although the ones spread with garlic butter can do no wrong for me.
I've thought about dabbling with ceramics; Imagine seeing sculptures and planters come to life from a small solid lump. A mention for my appreciation of terrazzo was touched upon here. Rock formations were scaled to epic proportions in that particular post too. The combination of greenery and multi-sized stones is my go-to blend for the terrariums I create. The excitement of designing and arranging miniature landscapes is real. Lo and behold, a greenhouse on-wheels. Where can I get me one of these? Full of palm fronds, sanseveria and general lushness. Is that an aspidistra I see? I'm getting ideas of scaling up the size of the terrariums I create. I can imagine it now - a general stroll around, having all things green in tow. It's that, or finding a way to condense the whole structure key-ring size, easily fitting into a pocket. A slightly more portable option I guess.
I spotted a purply hued collection of leaves splayed in the corner. The beetrooty/aubergine shade reminds me of an indoor plant I'd like to add to my ever-growing collection. The 'purple shamrock' oxalis is what I have in mind, which reminds me of the oxalis 'iron cross' plant. I planted some mini bulbs of the latter a few summers ago and I enjoy seeing them sprout in my garden, year on year. In my excitement on this particular day, it appears I forgot to take note of the artist's name and details conveying their intention. This is the case with the take-me-with-you greenhouse and the sculptural collaboration of paraphernalia below. Researching the exhibition online hasn't proved too fruitful, so if you happen to come across the creators' name, do inform me and I'll happily credit. Until then. let me offer some insight into my interpretation of this medley of detail...
We were invited to inspect a cacophony of materials, colour and texture. What to absorb first, visually? The staggered landscape had neat sections of adjoining kindling, leading to a towering peak. A coiled yellow wire sat on the structure, as if it was snaking through the Saharan sand. Layers of colour swatches. I flicked past rainbow shades with my eyes. Glanced at pastel shades made more prominent upon wooden blocks - a Manhattan skyline of blended gradience. There were elements of an industrial feel, with pewter lamps bended at the knees and a ladder overseeing the party. The small-scale microcosm was offset beautifully with sprigs of plants, springing from plywood boards. Little islands. Will I be island hopping? I'm reminded of mini propagation lengths sitting in tiny pots, ready to make their mark in a planter. The anacampseros at home should be blooming in no time.
Yarn found itself weaving through cement tiles, creating a vivid abstract pattern. It coursed its way from the hoop into the metal pole. That's some strong thread, piercing into such robust materials. Or, so it appears. The witchcraft of a needle, made from the same metal of Thor's hammer, is more alluring. The blue strand acts as the tie, bringing the tides together,. Making waves within the city. Small boxes of the light bulb, drink carton and bric-a-brac sort. Elements which may have been recycled, elevated to art status. Matchsticks are taken up a notch size-wise, to compose the large scale scaffold. Imagine scaling down for a moment, being able to swing through the matchstick maze. Striking a flame with every ascending movement. The tips act as a lit-up garden torch, rather than reducing everything to dust. Getting close to reach the zenith, to be rewarded with a palm plant. Sounds about right,
There's precarious balancing on plastic containers and a spirit level making sure we've achieved a harmonious balance. So many metaphors. Is it a balance of life? A feeling of uncertainty as we climb higher towards our dreams? It could be the dramatic increase in awareness of plastic and how it is polluting the environment. The perched plant at the peak - maybe it highlights being able to survive, yet only once we've addressed problems at the root of the cause. Plastic sprigs. Tell me these islands will be around for millennia...not because they're non-biodegradable, but because they have vines to grow, As much as I'd like to see it, I doubt the greenery here will come to spread throughout the composition.
Pots of beads here and there. I can relate, for sure. Tiny wooden seed beads sit in a box, awaiting that metaphorical needle to come on through. A mini mushroom lamp is distanced away from it all. The source of where it all starts. That light-bulb idea formulating an entire world? We've got the piercing sun outside, as well as a lamp arching high above, representing that solar energy. Different sized lamps feature - from the one tucked away on the wooden ledge, to the angular-armed one making a point. Maybe in nightfall, a flicked switch would allow them to play the moon, illuminating fronds and foliage. Multiple moons. Lunar life could take over, casting shadowy silhouettes and bringing out midnight hues from vibrant palettes. Areas of particular interest could be brought into the spotlight. There's magic found in the everyday. No room for considering objects as mundane here.
The russet room. This installation entitled Smog|Tomorrow's sculpture is also by the sculptor Katinka Bock. There is the intention of exploring energy states, with the flowing of heat and experimenting with physical processes. Swaying pendulums, trying to find that steady balance once again. Do the scales tip in favour of cement or the length of thread? It's a continuous play. Could the strength of a petal on one end, tip it either way? The thought of a ceramic planter springs to mind and what should be chosen to reside in it. I'm thinking blue hydrangeas or white camellias. Copper vessels are an idea. I imagine a green patina adding to the lure, once the rain takes over. Maybe abstract-shaped vases, creating a gallery outdoors. I'd patiently walk around the vast patio, intently studying the forms. There'd be something new to take in every time. A study of the calming kind.
Yes, please do bring the art outside, A concrete slab was carved with the internal section missing, allowing for softness to bloom within. Wispy fronds were dotted with white feathery tips. A silvery shrub wanted to resemble the steely vessel it sat in, with greyish lengths blending with it's surroundings. Hellebores provided a burst of petals; the clusters like a delicate porcelain bauble perched on a green stalk. In my garden at home, I planted a small creamy-hued camellia in a flower bed, in the hopes of seeing it grow. There's two huge camellia bushes I walk past in the area near my home, which bloom with beautiful red/orange flowers. It showed the potential of how large the plant could be. It's been a few years now and it's not showing any signs of taking to the clay-based soil. I'm thinking of retrieving it and planting it in a pot with soil it prefers. Hopefully, this will be a better starting point for the roots to seep through and take hold.
As well as considering springtime fleurs (especially as the skies are currently stony-toned), I've been thinking about the flora we have around us in winter. The rich hues of poinsettia, the delicacy of snowy cyclamen and the mini globes of hyacinth bulbs. There's whole worlds within. I planted some bulbs recently, where they're nestled in terracotta with a sprinkle of stones. The fragrant scent filling the room will signal a change in season. Flora/greenery changes the entire feel of a space, where I'm thinking jasmine, miniature roses or colourful bromeliads should grace a place near me next, An ever-growing collection of sprawling buds and leaves. Happy.
Our second day in Portugal and the agave awe does not stop. We took a walk around the beachy area to see giant barbed limbs stretching in the distance. Yes, I did carefully hop over the steep ledge to take a snap of the spiky stems. I couldn't resist that shade of minty green, topped off with a sunshine bloom. Yellow and green seemed to be a common colour combo here and I was down for that. Prickly paddles lapped up the sun rays, sitting amongst a bed of dried floral buds. Sounds like the makings of a great arrangement.
We hadn't made any specific plans, so quickly searched Google for places to visit. A 'nature reserve', you say? We hopped in a taxi and arrived at our destination. We enquired about tickets at the main reception to find 'this is actually a campsite'. Ah right, Google failed to mention that. No problem; a chance to explore the local area...and what an area it was. Huge cacti forms stood in a front garden with unfurling agave dotted alongside them. A terrazzo vibe pebble arrangement lay in the clay-like ground.
Mars, we here? The landscape took on an intense russet hue as we made our way around the winding roads. A great shade for a bronzing palette. One you wish could be dusted over yourself when a dose of rich sunshine is needed. A geologist would've had a field day. I know I stopped to appreciate the various stony forms embedded in the land. You can read about my appreciation for all things rockery in this post. Seeing as we're here talking stones, take a look at this one, which looks like light embodied - potentially as a bolt of thunder.
Keep those stony formations coming, Portugal. Here, the corrugated lengths of the agave had a blueish tinge, with a silvery touch. A hearty heathery lilac shrub grew from the cracks. The purple flowers are reminiscent of this one, which had invited a few guests of its own - a sedate kaleidoscopic party. I was expecting greenery when we decided to visited this holiday destination, yet I wasn't expecting full-blown colossal succulents. You can probably imagine how excited I was. 'Look at this variegated one over here too!'
Our walk took us past colourful homes, where those famous tiles came to feature again. Our first encounter with them can be found here. Bougainvillea canopies draped overhead, with vivid pink petals contrasting with vibrant walls. The tall stems of the pink foxgloves have spread across the garden at home, delicately dropping bells along the way. I'm happy to continue finding buds from this plant dotted through the soil. Talking florals, I've been experimenting with illustrations which merge the botanical element with a fashion perspective.
Colour blocking here was done so well. That sand and sea analogy coming through with yellow and blue. It's time to bring all things nature to the forefront. I found myself asking,
'If I could spend my time doing one thing with my day, what would it be?' The first thought that came to mind was 'garden'. Growing plants. Flowers. I want to bring an element of that feeling onto paper too, all the while embracing the outdoors where I can, Bouquet and plant arrangements at a larger scale, as well as mini pots sprouting beaded blooms.
Take a peak at the markings of this florally plant, which wouldn't look out of place in the baked landscape around us, as well as in Jumanji (Robin Williams edition, of course). Palm trees framed pistachio picture-postcard buildings, where architecture ebbed into the horizon. We stopped by a charming dessert place for some gelato in fab Ferragudo. Here during World Cup season, the locals came to sit and enjoy the big match, adding to the friendly atmosphere. You can see more of this day at the 10.40 min mark, on sis's vlog here.
Captivating fleurs and motifs feature on many a tile. The linear blue tendrils have me thinking about plants in this colour. I recall talking about the subtly bluish-grey echeveria in the boaty post here - what an idyllic day at Rutland Water that was. There was also the beautiful blue Himalayan poppies spotted at Coton Manor, which I've yet to see in a flower bed around me since. Pinks and red collaborate in curved vases for one of my first plant/floral illustrations. Angular stems come through with as much impact as the vessels themselves.
An element of the fisherman's life was embodied in this painting we discovered, perched atop the winding cliff. I can totally appreciate a good hat and the blended blues of the fisherman's hat echoes the waters perfectly. A palm sat comfortably in front. Is it need of a good drink or is that shade of coppery brown it's natural hue? Either way, yes to sporadic palms planted in many places. The mélange of colour continued at every turn, with sky-hued sailboats and homes in shades of apricot,
I'm in my green element for sure. A quick note to self for the future - maybe touching the cacti arm, while admiring the coastal view, should be done with a tad more attention. There's a slight chance one of the little spikes on the edge might have other ideas. A sharp ouch as I nicked my ring finger (almost like an encounter with a thorn), leaving me wondering where I did the plant wrong. Really, I was just taking a moment to appreciate it's beauty. A quick tending to the wound and then it was swiftly back to all things nature.
Agave leaves towered proudly in the glorious evening sun. A mottled pattern coursed through a leaf length, like multiple glass fragments. It was reminiscent of scattered brown and cream seed beads. The intricacy of terrazzo also comes to mind. Recently, I've been on the search for a planter with a similar pattern. There's miniature ones I've come across, yet I can't find one which matches the shape and stonework I have in mind. I've thought about making one, which would involve cement, moulds, sanding, polishing etc. I mean, if I'm this invested, then there'd surely be a whole range to consider, with stone chip and colour variations. Time to get experimenting with mediums? The material jesmonite could also be an option. Even so, I'll still forever be on the lookout for perfect planters.
I remember reading about the Japanese concept of 'forest bathing' or nature therapy. The idea of being surrounded by the calming environment to help with mental well-being and overall happiness. It's all true. I'd suggest no to hugging agaves though. Not that I tried. Here's a fun perspective I read on tree-hugging. It would probably apply to non=spiky plants, as well as trees. The coursing of energy and all. Zen. Being around these beautiful banded triumphs, I wonder how to go about growing larger-than-me succulents back home...
Ferragudo had been a pleasure. As the sun set, we made our way back to Portimão. Before we headed to dinner, I had to capture a picture of the beach as dusk set in. A delicate sunset appeared like a watercolour wash on paper. Idyllic quiet shores. Rock formations were dotted majestically in the waters and the horizon was tinged with rainbow hues. I'm getting a Baked Alaska vibe with the mountainous feat on the left. Viewings of The Great British Bake Off are having an effect on my outlook. I'd be happy to see dessert in everything I glance at, to be honest. Shrubbery and green shoots surrounded the scene, where there was no filter required here, whatsoever.
When I moved to my new place in Letchworth, Hinisha_ gifted me with a housewarming succulent poster. Note the agave with orangey/red floral stalks emerging from the top right of the illustration. Here, they dappled through the pathways in abundance, translating delightfully. Various bands of colour came through with the mini-mountains, in a fascinating gradient. Glancing back at these snaps, I adore seeing the mass of plants that thrive with little maintenance. I travel back home to Leicester on occasions and can't water the non-succs for a few weeks, Even with a good dousing before I left this time, I returned to find the calamondin orange tree (mentioned here) on it's last leafy legs and the orange orbs looking more like prunes. Distraught. Here's hoping a hasty soaking can revive it. If you can suggest any plant self-watering mechanisms, I would definitely like to hear them.
I have to say, this is one of my favourite posts and one day that I'll look back on with fond memories. Ah, I just want a massive greenhouse and have it strategically crammed with succulents and flowers. I'm thinking a variety of anthurium, orchids and an entwining hoya kerrii. Many a wooden terrarium to create too. My latest creation features a dome of sempervivum and lithops blending effortlessly with the pebbles. Until I find myself strolling through vast leafy/rocky terrain again, the miniature versions have a way of taking me back.
I'm throwing it back to my 29th birthday last year and what a lovely day it was. Me, sis and mum visited Langton Greenhouse. Giant burnished giraffes at the entrance were a surreal
and inviting way to enter the place. Lavender lined the path, where a gentle twinkling of lights emerged behind the buds. Light has a way of bringing out the chatoyancy of beads too.
This was the case with the abundance of gems making this skirt sparkle. A flower or two wove it's way into the beady constellation, of course.
I'm always on the lookout for a new feature for the garden. Pots, plants and sculptural elements to name a few - pyramid rocks spotted. Speaking of rocking pyramids, it was
Glastonbury last week and The Killers took to the main Pyramid Stage. My last post may have mentioned how me and sis went to see them in Luxembourg, which was an amazing
experience. I wasn't at Glasto, although seeing how awesome it looked took me back to the time we got to see them in all their glory. This Charming Man rendition gets me on my
Upon entering, an array of orchids lined the ledge in shades of pink and cream. I remember purchasing a beautiful soft pink one a few years ago for my studio, when I first started D&T.
It's such an elegantly delicate plant. I did find they can be a tad fussy when it comes to maintenance and watering. Even so, when an orchid lover knows how to best look after them, a
vast collection can blow you away. I got to experience them in full splendour this year, when I visited Singapore for my 30th birthday. More to come on that soon!
Ah, cacti. There's such a variety of fascinating globular forms, shapes and patterns. Just don't get too close, as I've found on occasions, mainly when tending to the the terrariums. I've
made a cacti planter featuring various lengths and ochre pebbles, reminiscent an Arizonian landscape. This piece entitled 'Sanguine Saguaro' was painted in the summer, where the
colours used created a psychedelic twist. I imagine walking through this scene would be quite the experience. The bright orange buds of my Christmas cactus are a beauty too.
Speaking of Spore, it felt like a dream when we visited the cactus garden at Changi airport. As hinisha_ mentioned, it was like walking into a large scale version of one of my
terrariums. Moon cacti with an array of vivid bulbs dotted the floor, alongside large spiny barrels from the same family. There's much inspiration to be discovered from every garden I
visit. The blue bud above reminds me of the Himalayan poppies I spotted at Coton Manor. I wandered through wooden islands decorated with flower pots...which blooms to choose?
Calla lilies are stunning. I planted some a few summers ago - rich purple & pink shades. I've re-potted them this year and I'm glad to see that they've grown again. Check out the
sunset gradient above though! Contrasting speckled leaves fan out with an elegant snap. Since we're talking leaves, let's take a mo to appreciate the eye-catching nature of the
Polka dot Begonia. One to grace a table top near me soon? Some begonias have the most striking leaves - check out the Ribena-dyed effect of these and the continuous swirls of this
Yes to the prospect of a large wooden wall filled with botanical art. You could stop by for your daily reminder of 'You got this', Wispy poppies stood out against an eggshell white
background and fern tendrils adorned the page. I also had some fun decorating a wall of my studio with an array of illustrations painted over time. The surrounding motifs on each
complement the central design. I've tried my hand at pressing florals too - foxgloves and pansies worked particularly well. Gerberas, not so much. What to create with the petals...
I find myself covering pretty much every inch of spare square space with a plant, which is echoed in the mini rockeries post too. I do briefly recall saying, in so many words, that I
would ask myself whether it was really necessary to buy the bromeliad (or such) to grace a surface near me, I've found that yes, yes I should. Some purchases recently include a
miniature calamondin orange tree and a sansevieria with the sunshine yellow edges. The garden back home is rippling with black scallop leaves pouring from many a pot.
On the subject of sansevieria, we came across striking marbled stalks, in an outdoor feature in Portugal. I love seeing plants that would usually be considered an indoor one, being at
home in the warmer climate of the outdoors. More agave appreciation to come in a following post! Back in December I bought an amaryllis lily in a terracotta pot, which brought a
festive feel with it's rich red petals. Should you need more reason to surround yourself with foliage, I came across this article which adds insight into why plants make people happy.
A giant angular rock.,,were it filled with quartz, I'd be mentally mapping out how to safely get it home. On this occasion, it'll have to stay here and I'll take a moment to appreciate the
stormy bands of black and grey. In the canopied greenhouse area, mottled acer trees with swished reddish leaves stood in corners. A layered bench was dressed with a collection of
leafery. I've been propagating the colourful coleus, where one of these wooden frames would be perfect for arranging all the tiny seedlings and the bright leaves coming to follow.
Just like the orange dianthus I chose for my 28th birthday, this Vial's primrose was picked as this year's birthday plant. The floral tips feature a lovely blend of lilac and contrasting ruby.
Native to China, this charming flower can be found sprouting near watery valleys and wet meadows. It's great coming across greenery I haven't seen before; the garden centre can
be a utopia for this. These cabbage-like fleurs were spotted in Covent Garden, which I've since learnt are called ornamental brassica and are indeed a part of the cabbage family.
A creamy dahlia sat amongst an eclectic mix of stems and a family of bewildered stone owls. I thought about planting more of this bloom this year, considering the Spectacle (a Thai
iced tea colour) variety and the popular Café Au Lait. An anticipated visit was made to the shop for bulbs, to find they weren't available. I did however, come across some alliums,
which I've also wanted to see grow in the garden for a while. I chose the Dutch Garlic, Round-headed Garlic and Sicilian Honey Garlic (sounds like I'm seasoning up a meal). Delicious,
Tea has got to be one of my favourite times of the day. We stopped for coffee & walnut cake, with a spot of tea. Look at that variegated ruby ficus in the back. The fractal-like patterning
and jewel tones sat well with my new primrose. A reason to invest in a rubber plant? The temptation is real. My illustrations have featured a botanical theme recently and I'm excited
to explore that more. About the petals and that's for keeps. This ties in with lilac bell layers I came across on a walk in Letchworth. Summers spent this way are a dream.
Sis came across a post of The Killers last year, where it showed they were touring for their Wonderful Wonderful album. We had a casual conversation about going to see them,
making it as far as the booking page. Then we thought about logistics, switching work shifts and wondering whether we'd be too far away from the main stage. A stadium in Bolton, I
believe it was. It all culminated in us deciding 'Ok, maybe not this time.' Then we saw footage of how spectacular the show was. Yes, the auditorium was huge, although the energy
was electric. We questioned whether we made the right choice. Quick search as to their next venue in the UK. Oh, Luxembourg. Right. Maybe they'll tour again next year?
I got a text from @Hinisha_ the next day, 'So, Luxembourg?' There was some similar deliberation as previously mentioned, logistics of course factoring in that little bit more.
Sometimes - most of the time - overthinking leads to not very much getting done. We switched around work commitments, booked what we needed to and were pretty excited
about flying out the following week! We booked our stay at Hotel Grey, which featured many pieces of art draped on the walls. A giant fashion illustration was etched into the glass
wall of our room. It was a fitting welcome.
When we landed at the airport, I glanced down at the mat which said 'Bienvenue'. We were in the right place... a chance to put my French to use! All those hours of GCSE lessons
resurfaced. Since then, (a whole lifetime ago) I'd wanted to speak French fluently, so have watched many a film, read text and listened to the language unfurl with French-speaking
friends. It was fun engaging in friendly chat with people in the city, especially buying croissants and orange juice in the morning for breakfast.
'On the corner of Maine St.. just tryna keep it in line...'
I first listened to The Killers when I was at secondary school. My brother gave me a collection of albums he thought I'd appreciate, where Hot Fuss and Sam's Town were two of them. Mr Brightside, of course, from the the first album is one of their more popular hits. One of my faves is actually 'Believe me Natalie', with it's rousing rhythmic beat, which also left you
questioning whether 'there is an old cliché under your Monet, baby ?'
Back to our first day in Luxembourg - best believe there's still many a plant to appreciate, when in another country. We strolled past a flower shop, with bright moon cacti, lavender
and sempervivum lining the shelves. Speaking of one of my fave succulents, I recall planting many mini rockeries with them in the post here. Scaling the winding landscape, I
spotted an allotment perched atop the mountainous area. Looked like a pretty zen place to spend your mornings, trowel at hand, overlooking the park.
Our car journey to the airport involved belting out tunes, including the amazing 'When you Were Young' and 'All These Things That I've Done.' Atmospheric car arena. Here's a
mellow version of of the first melody mentioned, which is perfect chilled listening. The doors for the show opened at 7pm. About 2 hours in, we continued to wait in the sweltering
venue. I think everyone was in a state of 'Come onn! We want to see these guitars on stage put to use!' Still, all was calm and it was a great crowd. Before you knew it... the lights
Purple lazer beams fanned out in the darkness and figures made their way on stage. It was finally happening! A silhouette of Brandon Flowers appeared on stage; the spotlight
focusing on him. He pulled back his phantom arrow and the entire stadium erupted with confetti, amidst screams from the ecstatic crowd. Me and sis were absorbed in the moment for sure. I've wondered what kind of experience would warrant keyboard spamming such as this: wijfidhofmiskhmkjbjksfaiahh. I feel like this was it.
We were launched into the upbeat synth of The Man with Brandon taking a moment after to acknowledge how hot the venue was. That it was. Hearing the classics from the first two
albums being played was so surreal. Read my Mind, Reasons Unknown and eventually being catapulted into When You Were Young. One of my absolute favourites. An electric wall of sparks ignited behind the musicians, as the bridge kicked in. Arms flailing in excitement. Head bopping something good, I remember thinking half way through the concert... 'I can't believe this has to come to an end'. It's not often you get the chance to be taken by live music elation.
There's a few albums you look back on which remind you of an era of your life. I remember the first time I listened to Songs in A-minor by Alicia Keys and Stripped by Christina Aguilera. Coming home from school to play stand-out songs on the CD player. There's nothing quite like rediscovering songs that evoke all the memories. So, if you zoom in really hard into the bottom left quadrant of this photo, you will indeed see my bespectacled face smiling away. Ronnie Vannucci Jr. toasting us and the show. What a pleasure it was.
Back to regular plant scheduling - our first day in the city was full of foliage. Is that a hydrangea bush? In this post, I spoke about how I wanted to plant this flower variety with the full
floral orbs. Since then, a visit to Homebase saw me find the blue shade of Hydrangea I'd been searching for. It's proven a tad tricky to settle in to the ground, although I'm hoping next
year the roots will have taken hold and blue blooms will be out in force. The evening of this day was an evening like no other. I mean, a concert that rocked your socks right off.
We've made it to March. Current view is multiple windows pierced with sun rays. Tranquil. Throwing it back to the Christmas holidays, I went home to Leicester and I was happy to be
back. I do remember this little niggling feeling, as if there was something I missed doing. Something I spent many an hour engaged in, which I hadn't recently. It quickly occurred to me
that it was gardening. I stepped out briefly, just to see how it's all doing. As expected, bare branches, grey undertones and dormant bulbs. Winter isn't the most joyous time to don the
gloves and grab the bucket; some gardeners might enjoy a wintery spruce up. I prefer to leave it for late Feb/March. I'd like to think the the worst of the cold has been and gone. Thus
leaving time for straight-up blooming. Or so I'd like to believe. We all remember the Beast from the East last March...brrr,
The warmer months of course, are generally a happier time for all to be outdoors. This includes a few visitors I'd rather just looked at the plants, instead of think 'hmm..dinner'. I have to
say I'm not too keen on snails as a result, although they do get a fair amount of air time in this post. I'm sure they play an important part in the ecosystem...circle of life and all. That
aside. I'd be happy for them to just bask in the garden, take shade under a leaf and chill. Not to take chunks from the foxgloves and leave it looking like a Swiss cheese plant. After
reading the article, it was interesting learning that this particular plant hedges it's bets when it comes to extending in leaf size, in the chance of getting more dappled sunlight. Cool.
This is a retrospective post and this day actually took place around two years ago! A fair amount has changed since then. Dad's great DIY skills have seen the back wall regrouted and
painted white, as well as new slabs put down. Looking fresh. I'm happy to trade in my paintbrush for a trowel when I can and replace paint with compost under the finger nails
(although to be honest, I'd prefer to keep the fingernails clean). You have to get your hands dirty sometimes to get things done. It's all about embracing everything that comes with it -
want beautiful blooms...be happy in the soil. Sometimes I like to combine the two, as I did on this day. It was a cool spring day and the canvas, paints and plants came out to play. The
joy I find, is switching between it all. Don't think I had bought my gardening clogs at this point, as who knows, they might have made an outing on this occasion.
Two summers ago, I taught fashion illustration at a summer school in Cheltenham. In my spare time, I had the chance to walk around and explore the city. I remember spotting a wall-
mounted face with blossoming crown (and slightly alarmed faux pigeon) to foliage pouring from pots. Gardening feats to be found everywhere. Textures and patterns were evident
in many a trail. These repetitive forms reminded me of the winning moment in 90's Microsoft Solitaire, with all the cards dance in-canon along the screen, Does it ring a bell?
How fragrant is sweet pea? I remember the first time I planted them and catching the scent in the air. Silk purse-like petals in shades ranging from white to maroon. The bright
orange/pink variety was a delight, where I think back to the one I had to celebrate my 27th birthday. It's a shame that they are annuals and the delicate trail only blooms for one year.
That said, if you collect the seeds in the pods and keep them, they're good to go for the following year. Colours of the crocosmia buds below look like little pearls of fire. Alongside
them in the flowerbed, there's a hydrangea bush. When I bought it online, I didn't realise there were many a variety (realised after watching a feature on Gardeners' World) and I was
expecting the French hydrangea. It took a few months to settle and grow, where it revealed itself to be the pink 'Tea of heaven' variety. I was waiting for all of the tiny tightly-packed
buds in the centre to bloom, yet that's this fleur's style. It's still a lovely bloom. There's also scope to go ahead and plant another hydrangea in the future. Can't have too many.
For as long as I can remember, the back of the garden was lined with trees and a mass of spindly blackberry branches. Childhood memories include picking them and enjoying the
bounty of fruit every year. I recall attempting to make blackberry jam with my sis and bro, although we were fairly young and had no idea how to create it, so it was more watery
blackberry soup. Safe to say it wasn't spread on any toast. Memories. After the Summer school two years ago, I remember coming home to find the dense greenery being ripped out.
Technically, the green growth which draped over wasn't part of our property and the owner of the building behind had decided it was time to clear the area. The week which followed
was like a scene from FernGully/Avatar - roots hoisted out and sticky tar steamrolling over trunk stubs. The Evergreen tree. Gone. Elderflower tree. Gone. Blackberry brambles, no
more. I attempted taking a cutting from the tree and growing it. To no avail. For some time after, it looked bare when stepping out into the garden.
Onwards and upwards. Peering over the wall a few weeks later, it was nice seeing nature reclaim what once was, with a thick blackberry stalk shooting through the edge of the tar.
We're considering a trellis along the back and growing rambling roses through it. That or multiple pots, filled with various flora. Now, I love to find all types of nature residing in the
garden, from butterflies to beetles. I saw an angular beetle resting on the foxglove once; it like a prehistoric bug from the past. As I've mentioned, the difficulty in gardening remains in
keeping the plants wholly intact. Slugs and snails who can't resist the delicious lure of foliage. I can't blame them - it's just that I would once love to pluck a juicy strawberry and not
find a network of tunnels burrowed inside. A few summers ago, I tried a homemade rosemary oil and water concoction spray. I've read neem oil works a treat...maybe it'll do the trick?
I'm trying to find a way to purely deter them, in an environment and bug-friendly way. Any gardening tips? Would be great to hear them.
Creatures of the garden inspire many realms, including the fashion world. I'm a fan of the whimsical scenes shot by Tim Walker, such as watering of the giant roses whilst perched on a
ladder. Stumbling across a snail practically the same size as me and hanging from the door - I'm pretty sure I'd have the same reaction as her. Using fresh coffee grounds on the earth
is a measure I have heard of, which apparently keeps leaf-nibblers at bay. It has been used as a fertiliser, as it adds nutrient-rich organic matter to the soil. Costa Coffee have an
excellent initiative called Grounds for Grounds, where they can prepare a bag of grounds for you to take home, to use on your flowerbeds. I tried this method for a while, where I did
notice the berries and leaves were left, for the most part, complete. Not to mention - forget brewing coffee, you could wake up and smell the garden,
Floral clusters have been traded in for bead clusters recently, where I'm working on a small embellishing project. I'll share the progress soon. Vegetables found themselves dug up and
translated onto fabric, in Schiaparelli's S/S 2016 collection. Here's a close up. Jewelled turnips and Intricate seed-bead peas? I'd plate up to get my 5 a day.
There's a definite happy moment, when you see what you've planted bear fruit. Fruits of your labour indeed. Yet, it doesn't feel laborious to me, even when I'm in spade wielding mode,
digging away. When you lose track of time, you know you're onto a good thing, It's the kind of tired you'd welcome from spending the day doing what you love, I'm heading back home
for the Easter holiday...guess where I'll be.