Inspiration all around

Inspiration comes from the landscape, other gardens, photos, paintings, fabrics – from many sources.
Inspiration comes from many different sources – the landscape, other gardens, photos, paintings, fabrics, the way the light falls at different times of the day.

 

I’ve been proofreading a fascinating portrait painting book this week and it’s got me thinking about sources of inspiration, different styles of planting and layering colours in the garden. As in a painting, you want tonal contrasts, differing textures, and colours that make your heart leap. Of course, there is one crucial difference with a garden: you are right inside it. You can see it from different angles and you can add elements of intrigue: ‘Wow, look at that! But, wait, what’s that over there?’ And you can appeal to the other senses – touch, smell and sound. It’s an exciting creative challenge.

This large patch of clover is growing next to the big field I walk past almost daily. Copying what nature does best is something to consider – mass planting or repeat planting (if you have the space) can be really effective.
This large patch of clover is growing next to the big field I walk past almost daily. Copying what nature does best can work really well – mass planting or repeat planting (if you have the space) is often very easy on the eye.

I read a lot about plants and design and I love to see what works for other gardeners but there is inspiration to be found in many other places.

I'm inspired by the colours in this favourite sheet, for example, and personal treasures, such as one of my grandmother's cloths and a Carl Larsson postcard. I love his charming style.
I’m inspired by the colours in this favourite sheet, for example, and personal treasures, such as one of my grandmother’s cloths and a Carl Larsson postcard. I love his charming style.

photo-61

 

Discovering many wonderful blogs since I started writing here has also been a delight and very motivating – there are such beautiful photographs and a wealth of creative, talented bloggers out there. It is a real pleasure to read what everyone is up to and see into generously shared lives.

I was going to write a lot more about inspiration and garden design but I’ll save that for another time. I need to snatch a couple of hours in the garden before the children get home. The newly planted areas of the garden are starting to fill out – it always amazes me how quickly everything grows at this time of the year (including the weeds).

The recently planted bed by the back wall is starting to fill out.
The renovated bed by the back wall is starting to fill out.
A view across the veg patch towards the back wall.
A view across the veg patch towards the back wall.

Remember that lovely blue-flowering plant I pictured at the end of my last post? I put it on Twitter and someone kindly forwarded the photo to their mum who has identified it as Moltkia, a herby, rhizomatous shrub. Hooray! Thanks to the wonders of social media we now know what it is.

Moltkia. Never heard of it, but this is it!
Moltkia. Never heard of it, but this is it!

Thank you so much for your kind comments on my previous post. I admit I was having a wobble but, as the Garden Safari weekend gets nearer, I’m feeling much calmer. It will be fine, we’re just one of many gardens open and this is our first year. I’ll let you know how it all goes.

Our pack has arrived - lots of 'health and safety' signage...
Our Safari pack has arrived with lots of ‘health and safety’ signage…

 

 

 

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25 thoughts on “Inspiration all around

  1. You are so right! There is inspiration to be found everywhere! And I was so taken with your long garden shot up there! You have so much happening and such an extraordinary expansive space with that stunning stone wall as a gorgeous backdrop! Just beautiful Sam! Wishing more inspiration this weekend my friend! Nicole xo

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  2. I have just arrived at your blog via Mrs Ford’s Diary, and I am sure I shall look in again. Anything to do with gardens, food, books, writing, etc, appeals to me. And I also live by the coast (in Devon.) Never heard of a Garden Safari, but expect it’s when a group of gardens in a village open on the same day. Years ago, when I was a member of the NWR (National Women’s Register) we used to hold a Safari Supper in the summer – first course at one house, main at another and so forth. Fun but a bit frenetic. I’d not want to do that now. Visiting a group of gardens not far apart is much more appealing!
    Margaret P

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    1. Welcome Margaret, and thank you for your comment. The Garden Safari here is held every other year and village participants open their gardens to the public over one weekend in aid of a local charity. It’s always a popular event. Mrs Ford is an old-hand (her garden is beautiful) and so I’m happy to have her useful tips! I have heard of safari suppers but they sound like hard work (although I’m sure they’re fun) – much nicer to stay in one place I think!

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  3. We love going round other people’s gardens but so far have fought shy of offering our own for inspection despite yearly requests. This is because it is a new from scratch effort and I maintained that people would want to see some flowers growing. Admittedly they are growing now but the thought of presenting it to the general public’s critical gaze is very daunting. I make a point of only saying nice things. You never know whether the owner might be standing within earshot. I hope your opening goes/went well.

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    1. Thank you Lucille. The Safari is this coming weekend, so every spare moment this week will be spent outside doing as much as we can to get ready. I think new from scratch gardens can be just as interesting as mature ones, sometimes more so.

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  4. When I first starting gardening seriously I was very inspired by the garden designers. These days having learnt some of their tricks my inspiration for plant combinations come from visiting other gardens both in person and blogging. Pinterest is also another good source of inspiration. Hope all goes well at the weekend with your safari. Sarah x

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  5. Hi Sam, I loved your inspiration, the pops of bright red, the repeating patterns and the exquisite embroidery. It’s good to treasure your grandmother’s handwork. And I can see your influences at work in your garden already. Hope the countdown to the garden safari is going well and you’ve found a good place to put those Health and Safety notices. Hey ho, modern life!

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  6. I’m a sucker for gardens with brick walls, so maybe mine isn’t the most unbiased opinion, but I think it’s all looking fab and inspirational. It fascinates me that in my textile work I’m often inspired by gardens and yet your garden is inspired by textiles.

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    1. It’s interesting to take time to think about inspiration – I am very drawn to cloth, wools, soft furnishings and all fabrics. It’s the colours mostly. Having an outlet now for that melting pot in our garden is very exciting.

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    1. That wall is one of the main reasons we bought this house! And it’s what cheers us up when we’re feeling overwhelmed by all the work that needs doing (inside and out).

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  7. I was very interested to read about sources of inspiration and delighted to see that textiles feature. I love fabric. I think my inspiration is very much to do with trying to create a feeling from being in my garden. I find that the beauty of the view does that without my help and the challenge is to create that sensation of being in a special place in those parts of the garden which look inwards. Sometimes I think for a moment I am getting there and then it slips away again!
    I think you are very brave opening up your garden to others. Mine is too full of nettles to show it to anyone.

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