Cottage garden plants are my favourite garden flowers giving a natural relaxed colourful gentle feel to gardens where they are grown. This naturally then is my choice for my own garden along with wildflowers that I love from my career in wildlife conservation.
One day this summer I was sitting outside and just decided to paint some beautiful foxgloves in the corner of my garden. Having enjoyed painting them I went on to paint the delphiniums and then the agapanthus. I love the way the colours in the backgrounds have merged together but still retain my characteristic vibrancy as well as the focus on an individual flower type. I guess also its the structure and height that attracts me to these flowers as otherwise there would be a blank space which I like to be filled with colour rather than a fence or wall. The little swirls had to be added into the background as these have become distinctive of my style and I love them as I know from feedback that you do too. I am expecting to continue this series with other tall plants including clematis, sunflowers and sweet peas but this may now have to wait until next year when the flowers are back as it has been very enjoyable painting outside really examining each flower. That is one thing I have found since I became an artist that I look at things very differently from when I was a wildlife conservationist. There is never a time when I am off duty!
The floxglove is one flower that I aim to have flowering every year in my garden.It is one of the most familiar of our wild flowers and certainly the most distinctive and its association with man is long and complex.Digitalin, which is extracted from it, is a powerful poison and an important drug used to treat heart complaints. They are a biennial, seeding freely when happy. Since it does not produce flowers (nor, therefore, seeds) until its second year, you must plant them two years running to have foxgloves every summer so this means a few years of patience to establish a continuing run of these tall beautiful flowers that are fantastic for bees.It is one flower that I absolutely will make an effort to grow and pot on young plants before placing them in the garden where I want to see their stunning drifts of tall flowers.
Delphiniums are another tall cottage garden flower that I hate to be without coming in many different shades from white through to dark blue and purple. This delphinium was from my neighbours garden as not one of mine had survived the awful winter.
Bold and architectural, agapanthus are strikingly beautiful plants that have become very popular in recent years. They came originally from South Africa and often known as African lillies. They also make brilliant plants for pots, yet they are low maintenance and there are many that will survive the winter outdoors. My painting is of one of the agapanthus that was part of a gold medal winning garden at Hampton Court garden show by Sophie Antonelli and Jenni Cairns both fabulous ladies from Peterborough that I am proud to know.
I hope that you have enjoyed looking at these paintings and learning a little more about how I came to paint them. I would as always be interested to have your thoughts on these paintings and what flowers that you would like to see added to this series in the future. Thanks for reading!
“So plant your own gardens and decorate your soul instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers.” Jorge Luis Borges