Redoute Exhibition

Aren’t these photos, paintings, sketches, and embroidery designs beautiful? Some day I will find the time to stitch one of these patterns …

Hello Everyone

Hope this finds you well?

Continuing on with my recent overseas trip, this week I would love to share with you a rare and wonderful opportunity that presented itself on a stopver in Paris, on our return trip to Cape Town from Italy.

As you all probably know, my first book was “Redoute’s Finest Flowers In Embroidery”, published in 2001.  It is almost out of print now but still holds a very special place in my heart.

Book 1 (2)

The botanical paintings of the artist Pierre Joseph Redoute have always held a fascination for me and unbelievably, for the first time in France, Musée de la Vie Romantique (the Museum of Romantics) and the Museum of Natural History were holding an exhibition of 250 of his rare, original, watercolours.  I was beyond excited!

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Pierre-Joseph Redouté, (1759 – 1840) was a painter and botanist from Belgium, known for his watercolours of…

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Saturday Snippet: A Succulent Manicure

We love succulents, and we love tiny things. So we’re not suprised that these veritable mini garden manicures are growing (heh) super popular on Instagram. Australian botanical artist Roz Borg normally uses succulents to create stunning bouquets, terrariums, and jewelry, but recently started turning the tiny living plants into nail art. “I had been making […]

This is WONDERFUL! Can’t say I would do this myself, but how lovely that someone else has thought this up and done it. I rarely get manicures — hello, I garden, often without gloves — but this really tickled my fancy. Do you have favorite succulents? Likes or dislikes?

via Show Off Your Green Thumb with Succulent Nails — #Trending — Round Two

Saturday Snippet: The Lost Gardens of Heligan

Mud Maid sculpture, at the Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall, England

I haven’t posted here in a while because I have been traveling in the UK with my family. We visited many beautiful gardens, but one of my favorites was The Lost Gardens of Heligan.

Heligan is an old estate that once had hundreds of acres of formal, informal and tropical gardens, maintained by a staff of twenty-two. After World War I, when many of the workers did not return from the war, the estate slowly declined. The gardens were abandoned by the 1970s, while the main house was sold and divided into private apartments.

In 1990, a man named Tim Smit (who later created the Eden Project) was shown the property by one of its owners, a descendant of the Tremayne family that had owned Heligan for 400 years. The property was held in a trust for him and his sister. They hacked their way through brambles and old hedges to find the remaining original garden structures and landscaping. The work they did over decades to restore the gardens, install sculptures and make Heligan a unique destination for visitors is described in Tim Smit’s book, The Lost Gardens of Heligan. This week’s Saturday Snippet is taken from that book:

We had cut our way through dense clumps of invasive bamboo, drawn towards a perfectly formed palm that stood sentinel at the entrance to what was obviously a walled garden. John Nelson and I were on another of our explorations, venturing deeper into the gardens each time. Today we were excited; somehow we knew it was going to be a special day. You can feel these things.

Once inside, we paused for a moment. There was a sense that we were trespassing, that we had come upon a secret shrine. In the gloaming we could see dozens of trees growing thickly together, woven into a solid mass by an extremely vigorous climbing plant that covered everything like a furry blanket.  We had never seen anything like this before. Under the trees we could make out shapes at once familiar and other-worldly. This was clearly the area of the garden where the real work had taken place.

Garden shed and vintage garden tools at The Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall, England
Garden Shed at The Lost Gardens of Heligan

Saturday Snippet: Garden Travel

Book about Garden Tourism by Richard W. Benfield

I don’t own the book pictured but I plan to engage in a lot of “garden tourism” soon. We will be traveling to Devon, Cornwall and Ireland this summer! I am so excited to see these beautiful parts of the world for the first time.  We will actually start in Glastonbury then work our way down the coast counterclockwise, ending up near Torquay for a family wedding. What gardens in the Southwest of England are not to be missed, in your opinion?

After the wedding, we will go to Northern Ireland and Dublin for a few days. I am excited to see the Giants’ Causeway and Trinity College, which my grandmother attended briefly many years ago. I know there will be many beautiful gardens to see in Ireland — which would you recommend? Thanks!

Saturday Snippet: Non Morris on LILY OF THE VALLEY

Painting of Lily of the Valley, 2009, Charlotte Verity.

Garden and floral designer Non Morris wrote this lovely piece about lilies of the valley, a flower emblematic of the month of May, a couple of years ago.

 

The Dahlia Papers

GRACE KELLY, PARIS IN THE SPRING TIME AND THE “WORST OF ALL DELICIOUS” WEEDS

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Convallaria majalis var. rosea after the rain

On the wooden table outside our kitchen door I have a terracotta pot of the most elegant pink lily of the valley, Convallaria majalis var. rosea.  The pot was given to me as a precious container of newly planted bulbs by my friend the painter, Charlotte Verity .  The gift was important as it was a memento of an extraordinary year Charlotte spent as Artist in Residence at The Garden Museum in London in 2010.  Here in the shadow of the ruddy castellated walls of neighbouring Lambeth Palace, Charlotte spent a year painting in Tradescant’s Garden – the knot garden created in 1981 by the Dowager Marchioness of Salisbury around the important tomb of the Seventeenth Century plant hunters.

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Lily of the Valley 2009 – Charlotte Verity

Here…

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Saturday Snippet: January

Calensariel at Impromptu Promptlings posted recently about poet W.S. Merwin and encouraged readers to share a favorite. Here’s another, suitable for reading this week especially after all the warm rain we have had lately:

Poem

The poet, translator, and environmental activist W. S. Merwin has become one of the most honored and widely read poets in America and was appointed United States poet laureate in 2010. Today, he lives, writes and gardens in Hawaii, on Maui. His poem “January” evokes a cold wintry night.
— Poetry Foundation

January
By W. S. Merwin

So after weeks of rain
at night the winter stars
that much farther in heaven
without our having seen them
in far light are still forming
the heavy elements
that when the stars are gone
fly up as dust finer
by many times than a hair
and recognize each other
in the dark traveling
at great speed and becoming
our bodies in our time
looking up after rain
in the cold night together


A good Samaritan

Dave in Virginia has posted the most beautiful photos of his Cornus Kousa “Samaritan” on his blog. I have native American dogwoods in my garden but his pictures are enough to inspire longing for this Chinese dogwood.

Ramblin' through Dave's Garden

In May, I was quite pleased to finally have flowers on the ‘Samaritan’ Chinese dogwood (Cornus kousa ‘Samaritan’ below). The dogwood, with excellent green and white variegation, is planted along stone steps that descend from one patio to another between two small ponds in the upper garden. The tree is prominently viewed from the kitchen window, and though it has grown vigorously to at least fifteen feet, the absence of flowers has been a bit disappointing.Samaritan dogwood

‘Samaritan’ has been partially shaded by a tall threadbranch cypress (Chamaecyparis pisifera) and a wide spreading Fernleaf Japanese maple (Acer japonicum ‘Aconitifolium’), and while this has not slowed its growth, it has evidently inhibited flowering. To my eye there appears to be sufficient light, but as is often the case, my vote doesn’t count.

Now, I am supposing that the dogwood has grown tall enough that its upper branches reach more sunlight,and so there…

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Cottage garden plants: a tumble of lilies

Another gorgeous photo by Susan Rushton. A tumble of lilies! Lilium regale, I think. I grow one pot of them. Now I lust after this kind of border. I don’t think the resident chipmunks would permit one, though.

Susan Rushton

Tumbling lilies

Fragrant lilies in a corner of the garden at Wollerton Old Hall against a backdrop of hedging,  roses and clematis. Wouldn’t a tumble of lilies make a great collective noun?

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