Sunday, 21 May 2017

garden notes - May II

rosemary cuttings

rosemary cuttings around the edge of a basket

Until recently I did not have much success with cuttings. This has been more to do with simple neglect, getting distracted, than the cutting being 'wrong', I think. In the past I would take cuttings and put them in a small pot, perhaps cover the pot with a plastic bag, and put it somewhere to then forget about it, oh dear.... Now I take the cuttings and put them around the edge of the container the parent plant lives in, so that I am reminded of them. The cuttings do take longer, perhaps, being outside and not on a windowsill, but they do actually make roots and become their own plant. So, some success.... The rosemary cuttings above have a fair chance, perhaps not all will make roots, but at least a few, and a few is all I need with a small garden. I have done this successfully for other plants such as penstemon growing  in a pot. I'm also experimenting with layering thyme and will report back on that.


sempervivum in a blue and white pot I bought from a charity shop




ferns are really coming to life with beautiful colouring - this one is in a metal container just outside the kitchen door - it seems to like its sheltered spot with shade and a little afternoon sun

(a post of new artwork tomorrow)

Monday, 15 May 2017

Monday

interior with figures

artist book - figures in interior

Hello, it's a cooler, cloudy start to the week here. We had a sunny weekend and I got a lot done in the garden. So much weeding that I have given myself a bit of a tired-sore right arm. I am sure all will be fine in few days (and the weeds will be popping up again).

I've been painting today. Over the next few weeks I am simply exploring - folding forms and colour. Expect to see artist books, still life and abstract paintings. I am keeping my intentions quite open this 'cycle' (the three weeks until I update my shop again). But I know I want to work more loosely, following on from the 'from life' series I have made recently.

I hope to share more later this week.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

a garden post - May I

I would like to share with you a series of posts, just now and then, about my small garden and gardening interests....

May garden border

the border in May - just had a trim

I live in a rented house with a small back garden. When we moved here, several years ago, there was just one sickly rose in a narrow stretch of earth (not really a border) - the rest of the garden being lawn, patio and a huge conifer. I decided to replace the sickly rose but the replacement did not last, despite tending to the soil. Slowly I have dug a narrow border - not wishing to make too many changes to the garden but to improve it. I planted box and have watched it slowly grow, trimming each year (though I did not trim last year, see below), and finally there's something like a mixed border with formal and informal elements.

May garden border
box, just trimmed - to the left you see rose foliage - that is one of two Poundland roses I bought in January. In the foreground is lady's mantle. To the right is Greek oregano.




Last year, for various reasons, I didn't feel much like gardening - though I did the basics like cut the lawn. I was a bit depressed and lacking gardening inspiration, perhaps. I focused on planting cheery things in pots. The lacklustre summer did not inspire me much. But this year, for the past several months, I have found my 'old interest' renewed. Years ago, when I had an actual garden of my own, (not rented) I enjoyed planning and planting, but then I struggled with the garden. I had young children to care for and the garden/house was positioned next to a very noisy major dual carriageway - so that any time you stepped into the garden all you heard was the rush of traffic like a constant hiss. I had never wanted to live there, it was a terrible compromise on my part to accept moving there - but we were there and I had to make the best of it. I tried to make a nice garden for my family but it never did come to much.

May garden border

I know I may never have a 'garden of my own' but I will make the best of what I do have - and I do have a lot of containers with plants and have collected many interesting things over the years. The rose you see in a pot in the border has been carted from one home to the next, and still flowers each year, despite being pot-bound. I can't bring myself to break the pot and that would be the only way.....

This slim border has something to offer all year round. I plan to plant summer annuals in spaces and hope they don't all get eaten by slugs and snails. The soil here is terrible - free-draining on top but dig just ten centimetres of so and you hit hard yellow clay. So each time I plant anything I add plenty of compost and slowly the general condition of this patch is improving. i have tried various plants but it seems the tough ones are the best - box, lady's mantle - all seem fine. Other things such as hardy geraniums have been fleeting, though interestingly there is a white hardy geranium that is once again appearing and will soon make flowers - and it's supposed to be a tricky one to grow, I think. If you like something it is worth giving it a try - and you never know how well it might thrive.