One plant we tried to grow in the garden was Gunnera, seen here at Rode hall. It’s a large leafed plant with a spiky surface. It grows in wet conditions and the leaves can get to 2 or 3 feet across. This was by a large pond that has a waterfall at one end flowing down a stream to the lake. There are a large variety of plants at the hall but this is a favourite.

We also noticed there were rhododendrons in flower today, which means we must visit the Dorothy Clive garden to see how that is growing.

Developing tulips

The top left tulip and bottom right are both the same type, but the top left one has developed and the colour is coming out. The other still has a green tinge. The top left is a different, more rounded type, but there is a yellow throat to it. Finally the bottom left was a larger pale pink flower. I’m loving the way they are developing.

Tulip close up

Close up of a tulip

Exciting. Yes to me, this wrinkled flower is changing by the day. If the weather warms up it might open in the next couple of days. Green and pink? Will it change colour too? Concentrating on one flower, but it looks interesting to me. It reminds me of a stormy sea. Waves crashing against each other….. Ooo I’m so excited!

Summer paintings

Poppies everywhere on these two summery paintings. I took them over to Etruria last week so they should be on display at the Etruria Industrial museum today (Friday). The left hand one was based on the wildflowers on display at Trentham Gardens, the one on the right is emulating a tile pattern you would get on the side of a Victorian fireplace. Both were previously displayed at the Arts and Minds gallery at Middleport. It’s good to have a couple of venues to show my work at. I just need then to go to good homes now. X

Dying hedge

Up until two years ago the hedge my garden hedge was fine and healthy but then unknown to us we got a leaking pipe in the garden. While the trees in the hedge prospered the hedge didn’t. The plants got straggly and untidy, a friend cut part of it back but it didn’t regenerate. Then last year a builder dumped a load of rubble and rubbish in the alley running alongside the garden. Eventually after about six months the council bought a digger in to remove it, but the cut the hedge in half all the way along the path. Effectively removing all the green growth that overhung the pathway. We are trying to add roses and hedgerow plants like hawthorn, but it still looks like a gap toothed smile! You can see into the garden from outside. We also have hundreds of tree seedlings germinating probably because of light getting into the garden.

I went out for the first time in months today. I feel very unsteady and the garden paths are uneven, but I need to try and make an effort despite shaking like a jelly!

Paintings delivered

I’ve previously exhibited these at Arts and Minds in Harper Street, Middleport and I’m having a swap round. So I’ve taken these to Etruria Industrial museum today. (I have more work up at Harper Street.) The lower two photos are my painting of the governor on the Princess beam engine at Etruria. The poppies and wildflowers represent the summer and poppies are hopefully going to grow there as the museum has initiated a wild flower garden to support bees and other pollenating insects. The idea is to stop mowing the grass lawns around the site and reintroduce more of a natural habitat.

One thing that upset me was seeing litter and rubbish in the grounds and in the canal which the museum volunteers deal with by litter picking. They have a long pole with a net and one of the volunteers fished a plastic cup and other litter out of the canal while we watched.

The museum is part of Stoke on Trents heritage and I’m pleased to have my art displayed there. X

Pompom dahlia

Dad used to grow these. You can see why they are called pompom dahlias. He had a whole patch of them in the back garden. I found some in the local garden centre so I have bought a packet of tubers just to see if I can grow them.

The best place to see dahlias in the area is the dahlia walk at the Biddulph Grange garden in Biddulph, Staffordshire. The National Trust owns the house and gardens. The building is only accessible in a few rooms, but the gardens are magnificent. Part classic gardening, part themed garden it is worth visiting and you have to see the Dahlia Walk in late summer. Sections separated by hedges on either side of a central pathway are filled with all sorts of Dahlia plants in all sorts of colours, for example red Bishop of Llandaff ones. Other sections in the garden have various themes, a Swiss cottage next to an Egyptian tomb, grottos and stepping stones and a Chinese temple and giant stone frog and golden calf!

Worth a visit if you are in the area.


Snowdrops gone, daffodils fading, tulips opening… Winter is over and Spring has sprung. I hope for warm spring days and new flowers opening. Blossom on the boughs of the cherry and pear trees, open already on the old plum tree and the walnut tree is starting to transform.

There are strong gusts and April Showers. Heavy rain and lightning, but we await the warmth of the sun. Not too hot. But the garden is growing and buds are breaking. I hope the hedgehogs and frogs reappear. It’s an effort to maintain things like the pond which needs a new liner. I must take some photos soon.