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Monday 15 July 2013

Catching up.. Easton Sketches

It’s definitely time that regular posting resumed. I have a backlog of stuff  on my desk and so today I’ll thought I would start with two weeks of sketches from Easton Walled Gardens.

A couple of weeks ago I gave my very excellent painting group a challenge.  To try to do a drawing every day, based on their own sketches or photos of Easton. We all have such busy lives that sadly we don’t have the luxury of visiting everyday or even every week. So this is a good exercise to make quick decisions from photos, do your daily practise and then get on with your life.

The rules are simple. A quick drawing everyday which should take no longer than half an hour. The aim is to make drawing and sketching as simple and everyday as brushing your teeth.

It would be ungallant if I did not participate: so here are my 15…of variable quality. I  have banned the use of the words “good” and “bad”.  Sketches should be explorations and practice and are always useful. I use these for all sorts of reason, exploring ideas, brushing up on colour, drawing and perspective or just recording a moment.

b archb glasshouse b easton 9 b easton10 bench  b easton sketch 8

b easton 4th b 2 of the towers b apple tower b greenhouse window urn july 1 bg copy b ba 

b easton2 b gunnera s

b the wheatsheaf

Easton Sketches 5 x7” sketchbook: pen and ink or watercolour or both!

A couple of these were done on site on a gloriously sunny day last week when the air was heady with scent, roses tumbled over trellises and swallows dipped over the stream. As Ian, one of our group described it, simply “intoxicating”.

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Saturday 6 July 2013

Red Legs, Yellow legs, White legs and Blue: and Empty Garden status.

Bees, bees, very busy bees. All over the phacelia, the borage, the poppies, the bird’s foot trefoil and the catmint.

The bumblebee workers are collecting pollen of many different colours.

Back in 2010 I did a short blog post about pollen its wonderful shapes and colours see Pollen : Beautiful Colours Fascinating Form

Hodges pollen loads_thumb[2] 

Here are a few bees carrying different coloured pollens

yellow legs_resize pas 1_resize  orange legs_resize hortorum pl_resizeblue legs_resizeblack legs_resize

The phacelia pollen is blue, and poppy pollen is black.

I took the poppy photo early this morning. Each day as the new poppies unfold there is an unseemly scrum amongst the bees to be the first to get to the pollen. It is very amusing to watch. They scrabble about, running round and round the stamens to transfer the pollen onto their hairy bodies. Then they may pause to brush the pollen into the pollen baskets on their hind legs.

Equally fascinating is watching the efforts that small bees make, to get in… and out of ..snapdragons. The flowers have a very firm snap. Sometimes they are almost entirely engulfed.

snap dragon_resize

And my much loved woolcarder bees (anthidium manicatum) have returned exactly on cue when their favourite Stachys plant is ready for them


Here is Handsome on his favourite plant.

So where is all this excitement happening?

This was the garden at 7.00 am this morning.

garden 7.00 am

We have been here 18 months and with a bit of hard work have turned something barren into something bee and wildlife friendly. It’s very easy if you just plant some bee friendly flowers, which are not expensive, and you don’t mind a bit of a muddle!


It looked like this when we moved here.

A few more before and afters. 

Front: Before and after


Back: Before and After 

_DSC0111_resize IMG_1491_resize

Back: Before and After:  The window behind the tree is where I work

a5 garden 10 am  

Shed: which is hard to see, before and after


and the bit in the middle…..

I have put these together to encourage myself on those days when the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak, to encourage others with a small garden ( the camera makes this look much bigger than it is!) to plant a few wildlife friendly things. It’s cheap easy and endlessly rewarding.
Once done, sit back and enjoy the delights that wild things bring to our lives.

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