Thursday, 13 November 2008

English Garden Magazine

Thanks to the wonderful imagery of Jerry Harpur who rose very early one frosty morning to capture our garden in all its icy splendour, we now have a super article in the December issue of The English Garden Magazine. His son Marcus wrote the article so it was a family job! I love this time of year, when the topiary looks so clean and the clematis seedheads look so fuzzy. They are worth thier weight in gold now that nearly all the colour of summer has vanished.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Borrowed Landscape

The autumn colour has been sensational this year; especially the beech trees and warm and cheery. Here is the view from our garden looking over the river valley where the Great Ouse flows. Normally it is a small 'ratty' type of river, with reeds, big meanders and high river banks but just at the moment it is poised to become a huge lake as recent downpours drain off the fields and rush down to the sea.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Jazz nights at Stevington

Negative space takes on a new look. Normally paving makes you concentrate at the stone slabs, not at the mortar in between! This dance floor is in the reverse. Blue, red and yellow stones have been bonded in resin and set amongst the stones. The pattern has echoes of Mondrians famous painting Broadway Boogie Woogie reflecting his love affair with New York Jazz. So instead of a boring patio we have a jazzy dance floor and at night the whole scene is lit up with blue and amber LED lights!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Rothko at Stevington

I went to the Rothko exhibition at Tate Modern the other day and was astonished by the vibrancy of the colours in the Seagram Murals. We have been trying to capture the colours in 'living pictures' in the garden using purple berberis, beech and plum, as topiarised hedges in front of a wall of hornbeam. From late spring to late summer, the 'pictures' change continuously. Flowers, leaves and fruits all produce minor alterations as they form, open, mature etc; and all that is quite apart from any change in the light....morning sun, midday sun, evening sun, spring, summer and autumn! Or rain, or drizzle or many variations; not controlled as Rothko would have insisted upon, but then that makes the artwork here all the more intriguing. And of course it grows, and grows. Then has to be trimmed and looks nothing like it did before the haircut.

Why do we bother? Well its one of the most intriguing areas of the garden; these panels of red, maroon and purple hedging create different moods to be absorbed, inhaled, digested. The smaller the variation, the more absorbing it can be if all else is the walls of hornbeam against which these panels are seen. Just witness the circular walls of yew hedges at Hidcote (above the circular pool) with tiny box leaves at the base. We sat in there and were completely absorbed by the minutiae of detail.

Its all in the mind!

Raspberry Ripple

The crew from Gardener's World arrived in July to film our edible flower garden, along with Sarah Raven to present the piece. We had great fun talking about marigolds and dahlias, and all sorts of other edible petals then went inside to create a flowery ice bowl. We filled it with ice cream, mixed with some freshly gathered raspberries and then scattered petunia petals on top, picked from the hanging basket just outside the kitchen door...and the name of the petunia was 'raspberry ripple'. Sadly that bit was never shown on TV but the concept was so neat. We then had to walk to a garden table, about four times to be filmed this way and that, and by then the ice cream had begun to melt and so had the edge of the ice bowl. Must have been one of those few warm summer days...long gone now! Just a happy memory! This ice bowl is one from my book called Edible Flowers and it has rose sorbet inside...delicious!

Bonfire Night

November 5th and the colours in the garden are gloriously autumnal with yellow, oranges and reds firing off in all directions. The leaves and grasses and seedheads are all worth a look; just a moment to stop and stare and drink them of my favourite times of year.