110514 artists’ gardens

Enid Blyton

Carpe Diem! I have been working in the garden today. On a small scale I started off early on by sowing a tray full of hollyhocks. The packet said to sow in early Spring or Autumn but I have decided to ignore this advice and sow them now, in May, anyway.  Sod the instructions. Too bad if I’ve missed the early Spring slot, I’m sure nature will do her stuff. I then took pity on three pinus that have been waiting patiently in pots for two years and decided to plant them in the lawn of our front garden to balance and compliment the three acers lining the drive on the other side. As I worked I meditated on the sudden and tragic death of Lousie Draper – an effervescent hugely talented 35 year old student of mine from Foundation a few years ago –  who died suddenly two weeks ago from heart failure. She was absolutely into recycling and as I dug each inch of earth, preparing the land to receive the pinus pots that were frankly screaming out to be planted good and proper, I thought of her infectious enthusiasm in all that she did. These are now my “Louise trees”. RIP Louise Draper – you won’t be forgotten. After cutting out a yard circle of turf, digging out the soil, and  planting the pinus a trois, I watered them in, made up special watering cans of garden fertiliser to feed them in order to get them off to a good start, and all the while blessed the fact that hubby was indoors fervently supporting the FA cup. Sadly he’s just kindly informed me that he now refuses to mow the front lawn because my planting the pinus has made his job a minute longer. No comment. He is now cooking the supper so seriously I have no axe to grind but will just have to win him over!

Before I came in I braved the May showers to give the eight or so box bushes lining our lane a haircut. It is a very satisfying job which I undertake perhaps twice a year. Rather than look completely unruly they now look sharp and edgy, more King’s Road than Brick Lane. Result.

Incidentally I have a charming book called Artists’ Gardens I bought years ago and flicking through it just now I realise that although I may never feature in one, artists from Claude Monet and Pierre-Auguste Renoir to Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, Henry Moore, and Jennifer Bartlett have all continued their creative urge outside into the land surrounding their studios for years and it’s absolutely nothing new. And that, dear friends, is exactly what I have been doing all day, creating my (but I should say our) artist’s garden – partly to make Saturday different to all the other days of the week in my studio, and partly to quietly think and commune with nature and reflect on issues happy and sad.

PS I’m quite sure my old friend Enid Blyton would have warmly approved of my Garden of Adventure – all grit and mud and spades and watering cans you see. Such fun!

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