Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Thailand: flowers

So back to Thailand adventures.....I find the art, culture, architecture and gardens of this part of the world really inspiring ,and this trip was no different. The use of flowers for both decoration and spiritual use is important, and in particular there is a type of purple orchid that seems to be everywhere.
I love a good flower market, and during a cycling tour of Bangkok we got up close with one of the largest ,which was a good chance to see more, and learn about different offerings.
The ever present  pink orchids...each bunch was about 40p
The orange bags are all marigold flowers which they use to make garlands
These were 'ready to go' offering packs for Ganesha...each one had some flowers, a banana and sugar cane
Everywhere there were also these big ice packed Styrofoam boxes which had bags of unopened Jasmine flowers in them for garlands, also giving an amazing scent when they opened
I also managed to spot what I have been calling my 'hairy balls plant' which I grew for the first time after getting one at the Great Dixter Plant Fair. Here sold as a cut flower 
Finished garlands to be hung in shrines or given as offerings
The white are the jasmine buds
Un-opened lotus buds to be used as temple offerings
Finally me attempting to turn the lotus buds into an offering. You do a very clever thing of peeling back the sepals and folding them into triangles to expose the petals. I was rubbish!

back (again)

Apologies to my regular readers for the wait between posts...after returning from an amazing few weeks in Thailand and Laos work has turned rather busy and evenings have been spent working rather than blogging. There is also an odd thing about this time of the year where the shorter days have made the garden more inaccessible as the mornings are a race to get to work and by the time you get back it is dark. A combination of this and the slow decline towards winter has meant that the garden is not at the foremost of my mind. I am missing this, as gardens have such an amazing calming quality (this quality is currently being filled with gin) and although it is very much the end of the season there are still lots of things looking good. 
Frosts are not too far away and I have already prepared by buying a new temporary plastic greenhouse (more on that later) and I think this weekend will be the time I did up the Ensetes and bring the very tender things in. This year I will also dig up the dahlias , which is more a slug protection issue than a tenderness. I think I will also wait until the frost blackens the cannas before digging them up, which is also a reflection on how unfit I am. Lots to do!


Sunday, 26 October 2014


I have just been very lucky to have been away on holiday in Laos and Thailand for a couple of weeks and will post about all that soon however I thought I should post about my rather bedraggled looking garden!

Its funny going away as in 2 weeks you can notice a lot of changes and 2 weeks has made a massive difference from a fabulous looking exotic jungle looking at its best to a rather autumnal knocked about mess that is a little past its peak. There are still lots of things looking magnificent however 2 weeks of not dead heading and things are all raggedy.

Its been such an odd year for some things being rubbish (Salvias) and others growing like my Miscanthus giganteus (which is never supposed to flower) is flowering!

Nasturshums romp, and everything else falls over...I thought this scene was a little Ankorian

 One salvia is flowering! Im still in a huff with them though...

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

My painting in the Dulwich Picture Gallery

I am very excited to have had one of my pictures accepted into the current exhibition at the Dulwich Picture Gallery. Hurrah! I have now been painting for about 7 years, and in the last year or so got much more into a flow and am really pleased with the paintings I have done over the last year or so.

The painting at Dulwich is called 'Idol Worship' 

Other recent pictures include Mr Walrus, a portrait of the Hornimans Walrus

and one of a series of my plant show paintings

and my Balinese obsession also lives in painting, this is one of the Ranga Dance

And finally another Museum painting...

I hope you like them! all are available, contact me for more information

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Ready for a close up, and a very generous friend

With the garden opening long over and the end of the season in sight it is time to just enjoy things, as there is a  final splash of exuberance and colour. Although some things are ramping up others have given up for the year, the first being the Kalopanax which has dropped all its leaves, and then the Mirabilis multiflora which is sulking in the cold.

Vodou lily fruit

In exciting garden news Patrick has been officially awarded the most generous person ever award as when clearing out his garden for a new extension he has now given me 2 Cyathea australis and the most amazing Chinese pot ever! 

Getting the tree fern home led to new getting plants in the car and home escapades as the only way to get it home was to tie together the fronds and tie them up so they didn't scrape along the road. We then drove the short distance home home safely with a giant frond tail wagging in our wake.  

This is the pot...amazing! exactly like I had been looking for. Here in a temporary position with the new Cyathea to the left. THANK YOU PATRICK!!!

This is a Yacon flower....

Tetrapanax flowering is a scary indicator of frost as they are usually frosted before they reach their peak

Saturday, 20 September 2014

More of things at their best

Although only two weeks since the opening, the garden has already changed, becoming ever more jungly as nasturtiums expand and fill the gaps, and bananas and cannas get every bigger. However before posting about these some more pictures of the garden at its NGS best