120513 tree planting


ImageI love my garden, and at this time of year I have a one to one with each of my plants. Tonight all the acers in the front garden were given their annual Spring cocktail of goodness AKA liquid fertiliser via my watering can to help them on their way and bring oodles of Spring growth to the fore and front garden. As the last drop of goodness dripped into the ground I could be seen gently caressing the leaf of each tree and whispering sweet nothings into its metaphorical ear; very Prince Charles. Whilst all this was going on my other half was valliantly firing up the bbq and cooking the smokiest, most  flavoursome cuisine of the year so far……and, hey, all on a Sunday night, with kids’ exams the next morning. Normally we’d be tucking into a roast, but for parents worried about their kids’ exam results we by contrast relax and lose ourselves in the summer time pursuits of gardening and eating al fresco which ultimately  keeps us sane. Yesterday I planted a tiny oak tree grown from an acorn (ask me where in thirty years time) , and today I planted a pear tree that has been patiently waiting to be planted since last autumn when it was bought.

Goodness; I’ve just looked at this post and noticed that the drawing is larger than normal; but I like it and shall leave it like that. All the marks and incidentals take on a presence that can be examined at a closer scale. Look hard and absorb; take in and enjoy!

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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!

110413 spring clean


There must be a blue moon somewhere because I’ve just vacuumed under the bed. I found a long lost tin of vaseline and plenty of naval fluff but you really didn’t want to know that. Spring is in the air and with it comes the desire to clear the decks and scrub the scullery cupboard. My studio is next on the agenda so I shall take a deep breath and go in there armed with a dozen bin bags and be ruthless. I feel a minimalist moment coming on so watch this space. In reality I shall of course get side tracked and start reading every darn piece of paper in piles on the floor and set up elaborate filing systems instead of adopting the digger approach and  just chucking it. When I was a student they called me Tuesday Hayward, now they could very well call me Hoarder Hayward and I would understand why. I blame my mother for instilling the Waste not Want not idealogy in to me and starting every sentence with ” in the war you know…”

sketch book study in medical dictionary: Comrie, J.D 1931 News Chronicle Home Doctor Morrison and Gibb Ltd., London

110411 riverside walk


I heard the Millenium Youth Choir sing at the Cathedral yesterday which was uplifting. I’m assuming they’ve been around for 11 years now. I also went for a lovely walk in the Spring bordering on high summer sunshine through the newly landscaped Cherry Orchard and over the brand new Diglis bridge. It is standing the test of time well and with its generous proportions and top quality materials is still looking fantastic. We turned left and followed the west bank of the Severn southwards to the confluence with the river Teme. It is a really magical spot and one we return to often. Really rural but still within the boundary of the city.The most perfect picnic spot.

sketch book study in medical dictionary: Comrie, J.D 1931 News Chronicle Home Doctor Morrison and Gibb Ltd., London

spring walk (haiku 10325)


life model retires

leaves velvet drapes and throws spring

walk into her step

second wind (haiku 10320)


spring brings second wind

to chilli plants in lean to

keen heat means water

round the bend (haiku 1033)


galanthus early

nodding in the breeze; a sign

Spring is round the bend