Think Like an Ant – Drawing The Garden with Neela Basu

Think Like an Ant – Drawing The Garden with Neela Basu

Since we started the garden, we’ve been trying to find ways to connect with the London College of Fashion – as we are on their land, after all.   We began with the dye beds then we made thread from flax and our latest venture is to collaborate with the college on several workshops introducing the garden activities to staff and students.  Our first session was last night when we did a swift tour of the garden in the gathering gloom and collected plants and seeds to draw in the warmth of a beautiful studio overlooking Mare St. Neela gave us some ideas to free up our drawing – using sticks, crocosmia stalks and ink – as well as different ways of interpreting and investigating objects, like imagining we were ants crawling over the plants.  An hour’s drawing was nowhere near enough.  It was so absorbing.  We got some fabulous inspiring drawings so we’re planning on running a regular drop-in session for botanical drawing using seasonal plants from the garden and using a variety of techniques to explore and ‘see’.  Let me know if you’d like to come.img_01111img_01131Thistle

Drawing with a plant and ink.
Drawing with a plant and ink.

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My favourite drawing of the evening – a runner bean pod in gold ink.

 

 

Water Melons? In London? 

Water Melons? In London? 

We like to try things out in the garden.  We’ve had a go at crops for fibre and grain: flax and wheat grew well and an ancient type of barley, bere, was successful – though was then eaten by mice.  We’ve also sown nuts and legumes from the grocer; the walnut and pistachio trees are doing well and we got a tiny handful of chick peas this year originally from a pack of dried ones.  They shrink to nothing – and are too precious to eat anyway. We grow Asian herbs and leaves such as shiso, pineapple sage and tree spinach – and coriander, of course.  We’ve also had some success with sweet potato.

We’ve had failures.  I’ve never managed to get saffron crocuses going and the ginger I tried rotted, the tea seed never germinated and every year I failed to grow melons.  I’d sow them in the richest soil in the most sheltered spot and they always defy me.

This spring I found an old packet of water melon seeds from Lidl.  There were 2 left in the packet so like Jack (of the beanstalk)’s mother, I just chucked them onto some soil without much hope of riches.  This is how it went. 2016-08-07-17-38-39-1

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