Sunday, 25 March 2012

Bishop's Palace, Wells hosted a Rare Plant Fair

The Rare Plant Fair brochure claims to produce a great day out for every visitor, and that was certainly the case today. Over 500 people visited the numerous stalls selling interesting and unusual plants at reasonable prices; the nursery owners have grown their plants and can give growing advice and will discuss a plant's suitability for particular conditions.
Here is the Plant Fair in full swing:
After buying plants, there were 14 acres of gardens to explore including the well pools from which the city takes its name.
 A bridge across the moat into the gardens.
 The Bishop's Palace and moat, a bit into the sun.
 View of the ruins.
People dozing in the sun beside the ruins.
 This statue is called 'Adam and Eve' or 'The Expulsion Group', it's by EJ Clark and  there is more information about it below.

 This is a willow crocodile, soon to have some willow nests.
 Another statue facing the dozers.
This is one of the well pools with the cathedral in the background.
The next photos were taken very near the cathedral:
 Above, the cathedral is quite a shock when you first see it, it's so magnificent.
 I tried to show some detail in this photo.

Above is the Music School
This is a series of beautifully restored houses very close to the cathedral, seen from the road under the bridge below:

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Try and Visit the Spring Member's Exhibition at Artste, it's on until the 7th of April

And open from Weds-Saturday each week from 11am-4pm.
What a great exhibition, here are a few photos of some of it, lots more to see when you go there. It's at The Post Modern, Artsite, Theatre Square, Swindon, SN1 1QN

Quite a 'Wow' factor as you walk in, it's a beautifully set up exhibition.
Liam Shortridge's  ambitious and fascinating sculpture, is visible to the left of Paul Exton's painting on the end wall. Liam's piece is called 'Throne to the Minister of Words' and is £4500

 Dee Dee Carter 'Myths of Wiltshire'
 Paula Sullivan's 'Sympathetic Space' and 'Standing Out' £120 and £185 respectively.
 Lynette Thomas 'Spirits in a Shed' £175
 Sorry, I haven't written down the name of the person who painted this, she's new to me, and I can't remember who she is.
 On the left, Alex Coppock-Bunce's 'Still Life and Vases' and on the right Pei Pei Lim's 'Childless the Threshold'
 This is Fay Ringham's stunning 'Coral Corset' £350
 Kim Pethybridge's lovely birds 'Birds of Colima' £150
Tim Carroll's two pieces 'Oak Tree' £500 and 'Anthony and Cleopatra' £400
To buy any of the pieces or to find out more about the exhibition, please come along, or visit the website:
The big celebratory night is the 2nd of April.
On the way down to Artsite, I noticed at the bottom of Vic Hill, the Magnolia stellata in flower, just look at this:

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Exciting News- U Piri Piri, joins Open Studios

Many people in Swindon will have sampled the delights of the Portuguese restaurant at 29, Havelock Street run by Cidalia Dais. In addition to the restaurant, Cid also is an artist, working from her studio upstairs.
U Piri Piri is a regular music venue, and Cid also exhibits other artist's work; last night was the opening night of Andy Preston's exhibition, and his work will be featured on the walls for a couple more weeks.
I was therefore very pleased when Cid agreed to be part of Open Studios this year, and lent me a piece of her work to put into the window exhibition.
Here's the exterior of the restaurant which adds a continental feel to the eating experience:
And Cid inside whirling round making sure everyone is happy and attended to.
A couple of photos showing Andy's work:

To find out more about the food and ethos, please visit:

How about a Campaign to make Front Gardens Greener?

By this I mean in the literal sense of the word.
Is your front garden paved? Are there any plants in evidence?
If the answer is 'Yes' and 'No', I'm encouraging you to lift a bit of gravel, paving or bricks and plant something.
I'd like to start a Greening of the Front Gardens Campaign in the street, and will help anyone who's interested in making their front garden more colourful.
Here is what happened to Jane's front garden, it had a variegated privet hedge and a lot of gravel, look at it now:
OK it's not a riot of colour yet, but it will be.
Here's another example:
 This was just gravel with a shrub, now it has 2 crab apple trees and various other things.
 A wonderfully colourful tub can make all the difference.
And here's an established Photina

Friday, 9 March 2012

Ken White's Exhibition 'Grafters' is a Great Success - with Extra Photos from Paula just added

Ken's exhibition which runs until the 16th of March is proving to be a runaway success. It is being held at the  Panter & Hall gallery at 27, Bury Street, St. James, London, SW1Y 6AL
There is a glorious 21 page catalogue to accompany the exhibition, with a full page colour photograph of Ken in his studio at the back, and a page of biography.
There are 38 paintings in the exhibition, a total of 18 were sold during the exhibition. 
Paula Sullivan visited the exhibition and kindly sent me a few photos, they appear after the catalogue images, and give a really good idea of what a wonderful affair the exhibition was.
I have scanned a few photos from the catalogue:
The title page, 'Trudging Home' oil on canvas
 'Canal' oil on canvas
 'Low Tide' oil on canvas
'The Moonraker' oil on canvas

For more information on Ken White and to look at more work,
Providing we can persuade Ken to take part in Swindon Open Studios, you will be able to see more of his work and his studio.
Paula Sullivan went to London last week and took some photos of the outside of Panter and Hall and inside a few of the gallery with Ken's pictures clearly visible:

Bob Flowerdew - the man really is a source of Commonsense Knowledge and Amusing as well

It seemed too good to be true, Bob Flowerdew coming to talk to Wroughton Gardening Club. I bought a ticket for the sell out event about 6 weeks ago, and last night went to hear him speak. He's an excellent speaker who has given a lot of thought to growing fruit and veg., and has adopted a pragmatic, sound approach.
I bought this lovely book:
If you would like to hear what Bob has to say, he can regularly be heard on BBC4's 'Gardener's Question Time'.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

To Celebrate a Family Event, or just for an excursion, Tewkesbury is an ideal choice

A second visit to the Tewkesbury Park Hotel last weekend lived up to our expectations. It's situated only just outside the delightful medieval town, with a swimming pool, golf course, gym and wonderful riverside walks nearby.
The Cyclamen coum in a stony bed near the front of the hotel were as colourful as I've ever seen them anywhere.

To find out more about the hotel go to and click on the Tewkesbury Park Hotel.
Despite the driving sleet on Sunday morning, we went to look around Tewkesbury before returning home.
 Here's a view of one of Tewkesbury's alleys, there were originally 90, now only 30 remain. This one gives a view of the Abbey.
 Above is detail of one of the carvings on the door below.

 Above is a photo of the cottage at the end of the alley, and below cottages on detail of the side door.

Medieval cottages on Church Street.
Tewkesbury Abbey is an imposing building built on the highest bit of land around, a fact that proved useful during the floods of 2007.
It has the largest Norman tower in Europe according to the Town Guide
 This is one of the south west chancel windows depicting William de la Zouche and three de Clare earls
 The sculpture above is 'Touching Souls' (1999) by Mico Kaufman (USA) symbolising universal peace and reconciliation.
Lastly, a selection of green men of Tewkesbury Abbey.