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 shimmer 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. I spotted rocking pyramids. It happened to be 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. Their rendition of This Charming Man rendition gets me on my feet.
Upon entering, an array of orchids lined the ledge in shades of pink & cream. I remember purchasing a beautiful light pink one a few years ago for my studio, when I first started D&T. It's such an elegant and delicate plant. I did find they can be a tad particular when it comes to maintenance and watering. Even so, when someone knows how to best look after them, they can thrive and 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, in rich purple & pink shades. I've re-potted them this year and I'm glad to see they've grown again. Check out the sunset gradient above. Contrasting speckled leaves fan out with an elegant snap. Since we're talking leaves, let's take a moment 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 variety.
Yes to the prospect of a large wooden wall filled with botanical art. You could stop by for your daily dose of flora-on-paper. 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 spare inch of square space with a plant, where I've mentioned this in the mini rockeries post too. I briefly recall questioning whether it's really necessary to buy the bromeliad (or such) to grace a surface near me, I've found that yes, yes it is. 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 visible bands of quartz, the temptation to say 'one for the garden' would be real. On this occasion, I'll take a moment to appreciate the stormy streams of black and grey. In the canopied greenhouse area, mottled acer trees with swishy red 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.
I chose a delightful orange dianthus for my 28th birthday and this year's birthday plant was a Vial's primrose. 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 these blooms this year. The Spectacle (a Thai iced tea colour) variety and the popular Café Au Lait shade are beautiful. They weren't available when I shopped for them, however I came 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 time has got to be one of my favourite times of the day... perfect with coffee & walnut cake. A variegated ruby ficus framed the setting beautifully. The fractal-like patterning and jewel tones co-ordinated 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. I'm about the petals and that's for keeps. Take a peak at the delicate lilac bell layers I came across on a walk in Letchworth. Summers spent this way are a dream.