A visit to Kew Gardens last week was full of the earliest signs of spring. Birds carrying scraps of nesting material in their beaks, a carpet of Crocus tommasinianus in the grass, swelling buds on the magnolias, and the camellia walk in full colour gave me a tiny glimpse of what is to come. I was at Kew for work (I’m a contributor to Kew magazine), and I was lucky to have a sunny, clear day to walk around after doing an interview. Every time I go to Kew, I see something new: this time it was the Treetop Walk. Well, I had seen it before, but I had never made the ascent. So I climbed the steps and gained a wonderful view over the wonder that is the Temperate House and beyond.
Kew is always buzzing, there were school parties, tourists, and people enjoying their lunch break in the watery sunshine. The Camellia walk, between Victoria Gate and the galleries, was proving popular. We all need a pop of colour at the moment….
Once again, my trip gave me lots of food for thought. Getting out and about, having time and space to think while I was on the train, and making a few rough sketches resulted in two more paintings. One is a commission, and the other is something I’ve been wanting to get around to since we went on holiday to Suffolk last year. I took a photo of a beautiful little house in Aldeburgh, set back from the street and almost obscured by dark red hollyhocks, which contrasted beautifully with its blue green painted windows.
The second painting is a commission. My late schoolfriend’s daughter asked me to paint a picture of a place that meant something to me and her mum when we were growing up. I chose this limestone cottage, which was half way between our houses in the Cambridgeshire countryside, and then I pictured it with a garden full of cherry blossom, tulips and muscari, something to conjure up many happy memories. It may look twee, but it’s bittersweet, and it was an emotional one to paint.
Finally, our little garden is emerging from the builder’s mayhem of last year, and taking shape. We’ve had a new fence put up, claiming another couple of metres of garden from our car parking space, and next week, a reclaimed brick path and some gravel will be laid. Just in time for the planting season! An update will follow in my next post. I cannot wait to have my tiny sanctuary back, I have missed it so much.