Montag, 23. Mai 2016

NGS: Sandleford Place & TWIGS Community Gardens

Striking colour combinations in the TWIGS Community Gardens
Over the last weeks I visited 2 NGS gardens, Sandleford Place in Newbury and TWIGS Community Gardens in Swindon.

Looking back through the photos I notice that I have focussed more on details than usual, especially on the glorious wisteria at Sandleford Place and the sculptures in the TWIGS (Therapeutic Work in Gardening in Swindon) garden. I loved both places and really enjoyed the mindblowing selection of plants for sale at TWIGS. For this post I have selected pictures which give a more general impression.

Just before the last bluebells vanished I managed to find a bluebell wood and to take a few photos in evening light.

Much love,

Sandleford Place - loved the tree water feature.

Always had a soft spot for auricula primroses.

A magnificent plane tree branch.

The Wisteria Walk.

The Enborne - the blooming ramsons (Allium ursinus) saturated the air with a lovely garlicky aroma.

Wooden sculptures in the TWIGS Community Gardens

The Park of Life Garden - the lighter side.

The wildlife friendly garden. My artichoke is a mere baby compared to this.

More wildlife friendliness. In the background the willow fence of the Cottage Garden with round hobbit "windows"

All my bluebell photos look quite samey. Tried an evening light variation.

Lengthening shadows.

My favourite.

Samstag, 14. Mai 2016

The Body Politic: No 4 - Eating in Public

For those of you who want to know (I always want to know): pickled radishes and avocado, plus smoked mackarel and watercress and edamame salad. Yum. My favourite pair of chopsticks which I brought back from Tokyo.

I want this blog to be positive.

It's just that from time to time it will be necessary for me to go off on a rant - because one of my many daily conundrums is living as a fat woman in a fat-hating society. So this category, "The Body Politic", will provide a space for these (angry) musings. If you can't handle a bit of rage and disappointment - please stop reading right now.

Of course it is not all sunshine and flowers. I know that this blog is mostly about the beautiful places I visit or new ideas for various craft projects, that I haven't worked on the Body Politic series for years now, but that I really should. Because now that summer is almost upon us and much of life is taking place outside, this also means that I am much more in contact with people I do not know and who do not know me but who react to my body.

The bench I often sit on to eat my lunch is next to a very busy road and I can sense it. I haven't really thought of eating in public as a political act but as a fat woman eating her lunch in a public place I must say that it feels like a (mostly silent) protest. The people I get the most horrified looks from are usually women. I doesn't matter if I am eating crisps or carrot sticks. I get stared at. Someone that fat should just stop eating altogether, right? Or at least do it behind closed doors, in the dark? In their eyes I am committing a shameful act in public, and I am doing it most brazenly, not hunched over my lunchbox but usually with a sandwich in one hand and a book in the other. And sometimes I even bring a few biscuits along for afters!

I have started to think of my having lunch in public as making a political statement which seems a bit sad to me. Food sustains us but I deeply believe that it should be enjoyed, that it helps absolutely nobody to demonise the act of eating in this way. Food is not sinful or evil. I have lived in the ever-deepening spiral of self denial, ravenous binge-eating and numbing guilt for so many years that I can well understand how food becomes connected with such emotions - but I don't want to live like this anymore. And so I must protest. Every day. In the sunshine, if I am lucky.

I haven't found a new photo of me actually eating and haven't posted a photo of me in a long time. This is from a recent Sunday morning, I have been up since 6 and looking very bleary-eyed. No make-up, multiple chins. Hair is quite long now.

Mittwoch, 11. Mai 2016

Growth spurt

It has rained so much during the last 24 hours that coming back from work the roads were still flooded in places. After the heat of the weekend the garden has rejoiced in the 'mugginess' and has changed a lot - the last patches of bare soil are covered, the geum, brunnera and woad (which I bought as a dyeing plant) have grown at least 10 centimetres and every spare bit is awash in forget-me-nots. The chives have started to bloom and the last tulips are finally out - exquisitely fringed.

Much love,

All the bits and pieces. Stuff growing in the bike's basket is lollo rosso salad.

The ferns are unfurling! Row of camellias to the left.

My 'lawn'. To quote a well-known comic book: "Nach 2000 Jahren ausgiebiger Pflege dürfte mein Rasen recht annehmbar sein ..."

Very much like the subtle colour changes.

Chives and forget-me-nots

Pride and joy: Euphorbia melliflora

Angelica - maybe I will try to make the stems into candied angelica ... note tastefully obscured water feature (china bowl from junk shop)

Woad. Need to find a recipe. Dimly recall that this may involve stale urine ...

Brunnera (blue) and Japanese anemones - my two favourites. Some bellis (daisies) planted in a blue teacup in the background. Second water feature (chipped studio pottery bowl from the junk shop with submerged camellia blossom)

Donnerstag, 5. Mai 2016

National Trust: Stourhead

Stourhead - the bridge.

The weekend is almost up us again and I haven't even posted the last lot of pictures yet! On the Sunday of the bank holiday weekend I woke up really early (6-ish, Hamish bouncing up and down on the bed and demanding immediate attention/cuddles/biscuits) and the sky was bright blue. So I thought I better get on the road, pronto.

I have visited Stourhead three times - the first time in 1997, when I was completely struck by the self-contained world of the placid lake and the miniature temples, so much so that I chose the English landscape garden for one of my graduating subjects in art history. The famous grass-covered bridge features in so many period films that I had the feeling of having visited much more often and when Darcy proposed to Lizzie in Joe Wright's Pride in Prejudice I knew exactly where they were absurdly romantic in the rain.

This year I took a friend to see it, she was visiting in late February and we had to find a house and garden that was already open and where we did not have to rely on flowers to make the garden attractive. I made up my mind to visit much more often and on last Sunday I did - enjoy!

Much love,

Dramatic sky over the lake.


Massive camellias!

Ready for your close-up?

Red among pink.

Another stunning camellia - ok, I might have a problem ...

Different view-point.

Gothic Cottage and cherry blossom.

Early rhododendrons in full swing.

Was quite taken by this bright red rhododendron.

The ground is pink with fallen blossoms.