To celebrate late summer, we made a short but to be treasured visit to Baddesley Clinton on Sunday, a National Trust house in Warwickshire. The weather was stunning; we had to keep up with the developments in the dahlia border, which we like to see at least a couple of times during its season. It seemed to make a slow start this year, but has now caught up. Many people were photographing it, making a botanical homage via the digital camera and i phone.
The dahlias don’t provide much of a larder for insects, but there is a fantastic herbaceous border, which is very well used by bees, butterflies,and hoverflies. The sedum, as ever, was the most popular, but there were more honey bees on the two enormous plants than I had ever seen; I couldn’t photograph them en masse successfully. There are new-ish hives at Baddesley Clinton, so it was probably the home bees who were making an appearance.
Those pom pom dahlias never cease to amaze; there’s a lot of maths going on there, without a doubt, and the yellow flowers were just joyous. My absolute favourites were the Goth purple-red beasts, which I hadn’t seen before. Couldn’t resist putting in a close up.
In total contrast the muted and calm greys and greens of the herb garden, and the thatched house I want to have in our garden, to sit in, and think.
I’m teaching a course at the Bramble Patch this week, called Into the Garden, and have been inspired to do some new work related to this. I dug out two pieces of work which have been hanging around for at least two years, and tweaked, discarded and added, so I’m now quite happy now to finish them. In this series there was also an autumn and winter piece. The autumn piece was cut up to be made into Floating Gardens, a hanging still on the go for two exhibitions next year. The winter piece has also been sacrificed to Floating Gardens in part, and the rest is waiting to go into a new book, about winter.
I also laid down another piece on khadi paper[see below].
Then, digging out my designs for a large work called Flowerpecker, which has had a few false starts, decided they would fit in neatly as part of the garden theme, with a double life as rainforest pieces.
The designs are based on images I took in Edinburgh Botanical Gardens, and I have made a number of 30 cm square pieces, to take to the course as examples and then to actually add to and finish as Flowerpecker. They are brightly coloured and were addictive to make; I’ll post images soon, when I take some.
Here are the garden hangings mentioned earlier.
The summer garden hanging , which I shall machine stitch, mostly. It’s about 1.5 metres long.
The spring hanging, below, is the same length, but is quite light and delicate, so doesn’t need machine stitch; just some light and free hand stitch for this one.
This is the work on khadi paper, which is smaller at about 80cm in length.
I haven’t yet got the pond/bowl image out of my system, as it appears on all three of these works and in Floating Gardens. It originated from an image I took of a large ceramic dish I made some years ago, which resides in the garden. It fills with rain water, and the interesting reflections made on the surface inspired me to produce the mosaic appearance. When it’s not too full, it’s a handy bird bath, too. The bowl or dish is also a potent image; I am interested in sanctuary bowls, which I used to make when I was a ceramicist, inspired by ancient examples.
I’m teaching a course next week too, 21 and 22 September, it’s Beautiful Birds, at Ineke Berlyn’s barn in Worcestershire.