Tuesday, 21 July 2015

We have the Brochures!

I picked up the brochures yesterday from Mark at Minuteman Press in Newport Street, they have done a fabulous job for us yet again, advising and making suggestions at many stages of the process.
They look excellent, wonderful colours, fab layout, and no images cut in half by folds, thanks to the marvellous work of Jane Milner-Barry, brochure maker extraordinaire.
Brochures are now available from participating artists, and also from 52, St.Margaret's Road, where they can be found in a recycling bin in the front garden. Come and get your copy.
I'll add some photos I took to Tweet the arrival of the brochures:
 The brochures in a box with David Robinson's great image on the front, and Tim carrying the boxes form the car below
Six boxes!
 And below, Joe Wright saw my Twitter entries and came round within the hour to collect his brochures!!

Saturday, 18 July 2015

SOS 2015 Poster and Flyer

We also have posters and flyers as supporting publicity material, I have a few of each, so please let me know if you'd like one.
Here's the lovely poster with an image courtesy of Bev Greig:
 And Jane Milner-Barry's gorgeous garden with Suki featured in it as our flyer:
Please spread the word about Swindon Open Studios, it's happening on the first two weekends in September.

2015 SOS Brochure goes Live

After much agonising over format, text, images and lots of proof reading, Jane Milner-Barry's masterpiece of a brochure went to the printers this week. It will be available in hard copy by August 1, if not before. I'm going to put bits of it here to show it really is here.
Firstly the glorious cover with image by David Robinson:
 and map showing where people are taking part:
 And then I'm not sure how well this is going to work, I've divided the pages up, and will put the divided bits below:

It gives you an idea, but probably isn't really legible. Artists taking part are featured on the website in greater detail. I've also omitted the bits about the Old Town Art Trail where artists advertise SOS by putting their work in 15 venues around Old Town, more on that later. Also there's a launch of SOS at the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery on September 3 from 7pm onwards.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

A Special Tuesday Visit to Special Plants

Yes they are called special Tuesdays, when Derry Watkins, plant guru and inspiration to many  gardeners, gives a talk at 11am and 2.30pm on a subject appropriate to the time of year. A list appears on her website of the topics of Tuesday talks, yesterday it was 'Summer Climbers'. We were given a list of summer climbers, and sitting in a room adjacent to her kitchen overlooking the most fabulous views of the valley and her garden, Derry gave a short talk illustrated with plants. I love the idea of climbers scaling the house, but the Cobaea which has survived the winter and some random chopping by me of dead looking bits, appeared to be reaching for the sky, well bedroom window at least, and was then blown down. Derry says small pins in the wall joined by green twine is the answer to help plants climb. I will try that.
After the talk, there's a handout which identifies all the plants in the garden, and Derry comes out and chats about various things before leaving people to enjoy themselves looking at how things have changed since their last visit.
I took lots of photos, I'll include the best ones here:
 Above is the entrance to the nursery, and below a couple of photos which convey the vast array of plants on offer

There's also a special shade loving plants poly tunnel which doesn't look that exciting from a photo, so I've left that out.
Below this pot of combined Coleus and Foxglove beautifully, it's just by the front door.
 The sweet peas were gorgeous:
Here's a view from behind the pond towards the house

I love this view below of the Eryngium ? with hedges and valley in the background
The gravel garden beside the kitchen area is so beautifully planted and managed, I lingered for ages there and I took several photos of it, seen below:

I nearly missed an area below the garden, a display of vibrant, wild planting, lots of Echinacea, Poppies and other things, worth a talk in itself, and showing how important height can be for dramatic effect:
I love these petals flying back Echinacea
so did a butterfly:
After being wowed in the garden, it was time to buy plants which might help me recreate some of my favourite things in the garden, here they are.
As you can see, it's one of each, because I love collecting plants as much as getting a lovely overall effect. The trick may be to combine the two, but I haven't managed that yet.

Monday, 13 July 2015

Some Real Stars in the Garden

I could write a post like this every week, but do restrain my enthusiasm for the garden a bit because I think although it's interesting to me, I'm unsure if others feel the same enthusiasm.
However when plants give an exuberant performance, as some are at the moment, I need to share their efforts.
There are stories behind some plants, a favourite among my plants is Dierama, Angels Fishing Rods. I first saw this plant years ago at Braeside when doing some peer education training with Year 9 students. It has taken years for me to get a plant to flower as it is doing now, I have seen it lining a path to a house in Emsworth, growing in enviable profusion, but up til now, I've found them difficult to grow and produce flowers:
 And Dierama is difficult to photograph because its flowers nod downwards.
 Above Crocosmia lucifer looking fabulous at the moment, but maybe blowing about too much to get a good photo. And below some Pelargoniums in a large planter; they do so much better in a large rather than a small planter, it's obvious really. The ones you can see are Pelargonium Lord Bute and Little Dancer, both glorious in their own way.
 Here's a fab summer flowering Clematis
 More Crocosmia lucifer, still not very clear

 Below a triumph, it's Romneya coulteri, or Tree Poppy bought form Derry Watkins at Special Plants on 21.11.13 and now growing beautifully and flowering after a quiet year last year

 These beauties above were given as a bit of root two years ago by someone working at Great Dixter, it's now huge and wonderful, I've included another photo below so you can see how big it's got.
 One of those tiny flowered foxgloves appears below.
 There's lots more to enjoy in the garden at the moment, but these were my highlights yesterday.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Countdown to Swindon Open Studios 2015

The SOS committee members are working hard at the moment to put things in place for a successful two weekends in September. The brochure is almost ready to go to print, the posters and flyers are ready, and artists are submitting interesting pieces we're hoping will be published in the Swindon Advertiser. I need to make more pages on the website so that each area has its own page, and people don't have to scroll for ages looking for an artist they are interested in finding out more about.
After our recent meeting at Vanetta's house, we had a look round the garden, which looked beautiful, so I thought I'd share some photographs I took:
 This was the view of trees from where I sat on the terrace during the meeting, I could see these gorgeous paeonies from where I was sitting:
 In the boggy area, the orchids were looking magnificent
 The woodstack sculpture made form tree trunk slices is hard to see because it's into the sun.

 Above lovely reflections in the lake, and below the committee looking at poppies in a field sown with wild flower mix

 Above a Lutyens bench and a gorgeous orangey honeysuckle which can't really be seen, and below a superb border
 Crocosmia below showing flowerheads, but into the sun, I'll take some more from my garden tomorrow as 'flower highlights'
 And lastly another lovely border, it's true borders need to be deep.
If the brochure goes to print on Monday, we might have it to hand out by the 20th July. It's looking so good.

The Picnic in the Park

This event was held as part of the Little Big Festival in the Old Town Gardens on July 1st, the hottest day of the year and probably decade, in the afternoon. It was a brilliantly organised event with lots of acts from Lethbridge and Commonweal Schools to entertain everyone. The idea was very appealing, so I took the grandchildren along; we were all very entertained by the singing and dancing and settled back to enjoy ourselves until I discovered I'd mislaid my phone and wallet.
I'd actually left it at home, but time was lost in discovering this, and the mood chnaged, so instead of a proper post on this, I've got a photo of the poster:
and a few of the crowds enjoying the afternoon:

 I think Josie Williams organiser of much that goes on in the Town Gardens was responsible for the line up and compering, so congratulations to Josie for staging a great event.
If you want to know what's going on every weekend in the Town Gardens, thanks to the superb organisation skills of Caroline Day, then click here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/TGLBF.Artists/