Saturday, 30 July 2016

Posters for SOS

We have four posters for SOS, all available as high resolution images to send electronically, and as hard copies for putting in your windows. These are also available via the orange recycling box in the front of 52, St.Margaret's Road, SN3 1RX.
The poster which looks like the front cover:
and then one featuring an image by Susan Carr:
 one of Liddington Lake by Rachel Pryor
 and this fab one by John Maskalaniec:
Hopefully we'll soon see them around Swindon.

Swindon Open Studios Brochures are Available now!

The much anticipated brochure with a guide to artists taking part this year has now been printed and is available in hard copy from artists taking part, The Central Library, Swindon Museum and Art Gallery, the Arts Centre, the Post Office on Victoria Hill, the Hop Inn, the Beehive, Earle's Newsagents on Newport Street and lots more places soon. Alternatively you can collect a brochure and insert from an orange recycling bin outside 52, St.Margaret's Road, SN3 1RX.
In previous years, Jane Milner-Barry designed and compiled our folding brochures, this year we worked with Mark Pepperall of Hot Pepper Design who helped us change direction regarding the appearance of the brochure. We are indebted to Mark for his ideas and suggestions.
So here are the front and back covers:
 The cover design is from a mosaic by Lynette Thomas and is entitled 'Uffington White Horse', and although you can't really read it very well, the Launch of SOS is on 1 September and at Swindon Museum and Art Gallery, and is being opened by Hadrian Ellory-Van Dekker, Director and Chief Executive of SM&AG Trust.
The first part you see when you open the brochure is the map:
Vital for planning a tour of SOS venues, although it doesn't direct you to a studio, you need the postcode for that, it does indicate what area you're aiming for.
Going through the pages, let's start with the Town Centre venues, these are colour coded red, and include Eastcott Studios for the first time this year where you will find in addition to Jo McAree, Emily May, Elmar Rubio, Rosie Leather and Franc Murphy. You'll find out lots more if you click on the link.
 Also included in this page are Vanetta Joffe who is sharing with Rachel Pryor this year.
You'll also see North and East of Swindon displayed here, including Anna and Sasha Stowe and Christine Tipper exhibiting for the first time with SOS.
Moving onto north and west:
continuing North and West and also South of the M4:
I need to admit to a typo with Jacquie Primrose, I must apologise for leaving out the 'c' in her name, and her email address. I visited her the other day and will add photos and details of how to get to Guernsey Farmhouse where she lives, soon.
As always we are very grateful to the Central Library for hosting us, and allowing us to hold an exhibition in the Courtyard Gallery.
That leaves Old Town venues:

This is what each side looks like:

Probably more legible in the brochure, there are more details on each artist on the website
they are listed under area on bar on the left hand side of the page.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Westonbury Mill Water Gardens

On the final day of the garden tour, it could be that after three days of fabulous gardens, on the fourth day it could be that it would be hard to take the same interest as on the first day, but Westonbury Mill Water Gardens is absolutely stunningly beautiful and entertaining.
Richard Pim has been developing this beautiful garden for the last 17 years, and he was in evidence when we visited, digging over a border, adding compost and replanting it.
The three and a half acres unfolds gradually, there are several follies, The Water Tower is one of the first things the visitor sees:
then there's a bog garden with the most beautiful irises:
 More irises, we were lucky that our visit coincided with the irises flowering

 Another folly is The Dome made from 5000 wine bottles, beautifully constructed, it looks like stained glass when inside
I think this photo gives an idea of the colours inside The Dome
 Below is The Summer House which has an Africna feel but is made from elm and reedmace
 Here's an example of one of the large clumps of flowers, Ligularia,  with the fabulous Gunnera behind
 Here's a close up of the Gunnera leaves:
As we neared 12 noon, a crowd gathered around a half timbered building, we went to have a look and discovered people were waiting for the cuckoo to appear on the hour from the Giant Cuckoo Clock, the largest water powered cuckoo clock in the world. It is very amusing when it comes out and makes its cuckoo sound, and fascinating to see the mechanism, it was a bit overcast when the cuckoo came out!
 Here's the view from the viewing platform in the cuckoo clock
 Glorious candelabra Primula were also at peak flowering
 Westonbury Mill Gardens is absolutely lovely, there's also a lovely cafe and superb perennial plant sales, with plants on sale from the gardens. I bought a white Persicaria seen in the High Line planting from the nursery.
And by the last afternoon, Hergest Croft Gardens in Kington, where we spent our final night, was a bit of a stretch. Here's a photograph of Pelargoniums in the greenhouse:

Bryan' Ground - Garden and Arboretum

Bryan's Ground was featured in the June 2016 edition of the RHS magazine, The Garden, so I was keen to have a look round its 3 acres of intimate garden rooms and 5 acres of arboretum. We visited in the afternoon, I was wearing sandals, and it rained all afternoon, so some of the finer features, like the hideaway viewing platform by the lake, has not been photographed.
Bryan's Ground  has been gardened since 1913, and like many old gardens has a beautiful greenhouse stocked with specimen Pelargoniums, Aeoniums and Echeveria
Here's another view
Around the greenhouse is a vegetable garden with raised beds
I've taken a couple of photos of the vistas seen through the topiary towers
And here's another view
The house has a veranda along one side, almost visible in the photo below
We didn't have tea at Bryan's Ground, although it was on offer, we thought we'd visit the nearby Cloister Garden, open for the NGS that afternoon and have tea there. In total Karen and Malcolm have 6 acres of land, some they are planting as woodland, these two lambs, sheltering from the rain, were at the top of this area
Walking down towards the precipitous garden around the house, we came across this beautiful honeysuckle
and here's a view of the ravine part of the garden with a stream running through it.
I would recommend a visit to this fascinating work in progress, they offer visits by arrangement until September.

Friday, 22 July 2016

Whimble Gardens & Nursery

The next stage of the garden holiday involved a move to the south from Staffordshire, we stayed at Knighton, which turned out to be the lovely Castle Inn in Knucklas, The original aim was to stay at Ludlow, but as it turned out the gardens we wanted to visit were nearer to Knucklas.
The first of those was Whimble Gardens & Nursery at Kinnerton, near Presteigne which exceeded all expectations, it has everything, coffee and cake, a plant sales area, very carefully thought out garden rooms with beautifully thought out combinations of plants. There were so many good ideas and lovely arrangements, there's also a large meadow area, wildlife ponds and a viewing platform, with views of the Radnorshire Hills. The map of the place lists 20 different features.
I took more photos at this garden than any other one, I'll try and edit them to get the essence of the place.
 The entrance garden has seating areas and lots of beautifully arranged pots and planters
 and a small pool:
 Below there were some white Dierama seen, and I regret to say, not bought from Mucklestone Niursery, they are beautiful
 Another example of a planter
 An Auricula theatre:

 A couple of photos of the Lavender garden
 Below you can just see the Swallow House
 And here are the Radnorshire Hills behind the wild parts
 Both meadows can be seen here with the wooden archway in the hedge separating them
 And here's a close up of the lovely wooden arch:
 This is looking into Church
 Below the Woodpecker Garden
 The metal backed arbour in the Lavender garden
 The Parterre Garden was a riot of colour with fabulous plant combinations
 And two more of the Parterre garden

 There were lots of visitors that Sunday, I'd certainly visit often if I lived nearby. Sunday lunch in nearby Presteigne proved to be a complete non starter! Sandwiches from the Spar was the only food available!!