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IMG_1073I was delighted to be approached by Helen asking to bring her wonderful sculptures to our garden for exhibition this summer.Come and find her pieces in their particular secret places in the garden when you can ! From her organic forms that so echo our seed heads and plant structures to her delightful Compostella and Compostello they are all pieces that should delight you.
IMG_2558In Helen’s own words –
“I was born in Southern Ireland and initially trained in Drama in London.
I am the proud mother of three children and two wonderful grandsons.
IMG_2556.JPGIn 1994, when I was 46, I became unwell.  It was in the hospital Art Therapy Room that I was given a lump of clay and I passionately believe that given the space and time to create allowed the healing process to begin.
I continued to work with my hands, and to this day I am grateful for my rich and nourishing life.
I attended Adult Education classes in Sculpture and completed a Foundation Arts Course at Northbrook College.
I work with a variety of materials, my favourite is pulped newspaper!  With words, it is recycled, appears fragile , but it is in fact one of the strongest and most enduring materials.  This complements both the strength and the vulnerability expressed in the form.
P1090642.JPGI have exhibited in galleries across England and Ireland and my sculptures, paintings and commissions have found homes in England, Ireland, France and New York.”
HELEN MARY STRONGE
07876266820
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P1090500David Price is a very welcome return exhibitor to the garden with his amazing sculptures .You will come across them all at unexpected places around the garden and set against our mass plantings  they have an other worldly serenity and calm .

IMG_2457Here is David in his own words-

“I was trained as an illustrator, but now I prefer working in clay. I like it’s tactile, earthy nature. I like using the elements of earth, water, fire and air. And I enjoy the process of moulding clay, finding it a grounding and therapeutic experience.

 

IMG_0951I feel that I can relate to people more through my work if it is figurative. My work is about being seen, putting myself on show.

 

P1090602I am striving towards truth and honesty. I am not trying to create an idealised image. Each piece is individual. Each one is saying ‘This is it. This is who I am, with all the cracks, blemishes and wear and tear of life’.

I like work that shows the ghosts and traces of what made the object. At the same time the work attempts to show the ghosts, traces and scars of what creates the individual person.

 

IMG_0934The work translates into art in the way that life events register in the body. The figures may be seen as damaged but they keep on going. They may or may not be limited by the lack of arms, say, so they spread their wings. Through trauma or tragedy you learn something else… perhaps how to fly.

 

P1090598The figures without arms are complete as they are. The figures that start to develop wings are finding ways of being that paradoxically come from a lack. The wings are a metaphor for the spiritual element of the self.”

You can see more of David Price’s work on his website  www.davidpriceart .com

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IMG_8794Hot foot from the biggest plant fair in Europe at Beervelde I am very excited to announce that we have six more new dahlias coming into the garden bought from the inimitable Koen Van Poucke nursery. These new beauties will soon be kicking up their heels in the dahlia meadow.Above a photo in the dahlia meadow from last year showing how the dahlias and grasses make a perfect combination !

The Latest Arrivals

I have used Koen’s photos here to illustrate what I have bought .

First up in the stable

Dahlia Fatima

another of my favourite hot pinks ! I am hoping this one will really stand out in our dahlia meadow . As it is rumoured to have  2 1/2″ blooms on a strong 4′ bush. It is also recommended as a super cut flower.

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Dahlia Souvenir d’Ete

A vibrant burnt orange coloured flower,ideal for a hot prairie border.I’m hoping this one will be a bit of a stunner in our bouquets.

Souvenir d'ete.jpgDahlia Cornel

well I always love reds of all hues so this one is a Ball dahlia of a sophisticated maroon-red. Flower size is meant to be 3-4″ (7-10cm) and Height 47″ (120cm). Looking forward to seeing this one grow.

Cornel.jpgDahlia Sheer Heaven

Sheer heaven.jpgDahlia Tartan

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Dahlia Brittany Rey

the final one doesn’t even merit a picture in Koen’s list but  can assure you it is a cracker having scouted about on the internet for photos.Just wait for my own photos which should be coming soon ! A rather strange and quirky combination of pink and yellow will make this dahlia quite a looker if its like the photos show. And pleased to see that it is a good dahlia for cutting too !

Planted and Ready to Face the first Furlong and Fence

so we managed to get all the dahlias that are ready to go out and face the world planted in the garden this week. A lovely collection of Dahlia Magenta Star will grace the inner circle of the cutting garden so that should create quite a stir when they bloom. The rest of this crew and their companions are now well on their way and slugs, rabbits, pigeons and deer  providing I hope will make a super display !

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IMG_0390Flip to the Bee Side – Paul tells his tale about his bees

As I walked past my five hives of bees this evening, not paying much attention, I heard a deep buzzing noise coming from one of them. I bent my ear close to the hive entrance(there being no flying on this damp dusk) and the buzzing increased as if they were being disturbed. I glanced up and realised that I had failed to observe a medium sized swarm of about 5000 bees, clustered on the outside of the hive 6 inches from my face. Yikes! I thought, along with some other less Enid Blyton like curses!!

Have a Go Beeman.

My challenge, I decided, was to find a way of collecting, hiving and feeding the swarm, within the twenty minutes of daylight left to me. I had to think quick, and this is what I did.

Cakus Interuptus

Firstly, interrupt Pauline making Rhubarb cake in the kitchen to boil the kettle and make some sugar syrup. Then search for a suitable way of scanning the  bees off the flat wooden exterior of the hive. My eyes alighted on a box of 12 Schweppes tonic waters. The empty cardboard box, with it’s end cut off made a perfect scoop for bee collection. So I hoped.

Job Done!

I trotted off to the bees in the field, got my kit on, and slowly slid the tonic box, whilst holding it tight, flat against the hive, until all the bees slipped into the box. Amazingly, I collected all but three bees in a matter of seconds. Two minutes later they were in the new hive with a feeder full of syrup and a reduced entrance to discourage other bees from robbing.

Moral of the Tale 

a swarm in the hive is worth two in the bush !

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IMG_5005Sarah Raven Made me Do It

It was Witchcraft !

It all started this week when the temptress Sarah Raven sent out a missive that she was offering cut price dahlia tubers. It was one quick sidestep to her website and I was hooked and drawn into that one click wonder of purchasing a little clutch of dahlias which will be added into our existing dahlia meadow in our garden.

Don’t get me wrong – I love and adore Sarah and will sing her praises and admire her endlessly . She fills up my senses with gorgeous catalogues and aspirational visions of delight ! she cannot go wrong .. so nor neither can I !

So what have I chosen and why ?

Thanks to the Sarah Raven website we have all the pictures to see what was in my basket (a basket which could have been added to many times over .. but rare for me , I was reasonably restrained and stuck with five favourites ! )

  1. Dahlia Magenta Star

dahlia Magenta Star

Love made this choice happen ! Paul and I treated ourselves to a night at Gravetye Manor for our  wedding anniversary last year  .We saw this dahlia planted en masse there and utterly adored it.Tom makes a spectacular display by threading it through his borders and with its glowing , luminous flower and very dark stems and leaves it is stunning. So that one was a must !

2. Dahlia “Blanc y Verde”

dahlia blanc y verde

its always a good idea  to have a white dahlia for cutting and adding into bunches . This one has a luminosity and delicate verdant green within it which sings out to me . Also a perfect single open flower will be super for our bees. Its a cool , calm and collected sort of dahlia !

3. Dahlia “Waltzing Mathilda”

dahlia waltzing mathilda.jpg

Not only was the colour combination within the flower beguiling – pink and burnt orange is thrilling to me- but it reminded me of that song and then I couldn’t get it out of my mind .. you won’t either.

4. Dahlia “Burlesca”

dahlia burlesca.jpg

emm again .. it seems to be that orangey pink colour way which has caught me in its clutches.. but obviously that tight perfect form of the flower shape is wonderful and will add flower shape interest to bouquets .The name conjured up that whiff of the nightime and the fascinating intrigue of burlesque nightclub burlesque !

5.Dahlia “Darkarin”

dahlia darkarin.jpg

oops .. that colour again ! well I really loved the name of this one .. a hint of mystery , mood and magic and brooding jewel box velvet.

Now Waiting for Despatch

phew sorted ….order is in , free postage and packing applied, we are on our way . More soon once the tubers arrive.

What happens next

Once the tubers arrive I will show you how to plant them , and then the magic will start ! I will then reveal to you how one can become two and two four (I will for the first time ever do the math !) and we can make a meadow with the few becoming many ! Dahlia cuttings – we love them ! so easy to do when you know how !  and soon you will !

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p1010561Sampling Hot , cold, or sparkling Sake is a Japanese must. So we did indeed do some of that !

Sake  is made from rice and water, which are fermented together then pasteurised to create a wine-like drink.

p1010564Taruzake (cask sake)is matured in wooden casks made of cypress . These casks are often presented to Shinto shrines as offerings and can be beautifully decorative as the images below may well bear out !

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I love the immediacy and very graphic content of the designs . Black and that orange red certainly catch the eye visually.

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p1000797Pathways , bridges and ways of walking to places are particularly significant in Japan.so it seemed only right that I should talk a bit about these .

In the gardens we visited ,the pathways (often out of bounds it has to be said ) tantalisingly led away up hillsides and out of view .But the construction was so beautiful, exact and precise with just the right sized stones and composition fitting together perfectly.

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larger stones formed the main path way with all the smaller stones fitting in around it to make the perfect route directing your eye down the slope. And then when you intersperse with plants and water the pathways become that much more beautiful.

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there is a sparseness and an equanimity of detail that also appeals to me .

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simple stepping stones also take on a rare beauty of their own.

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but the mystery of a pathway that leads away into  plants is ever tantalising to me and is maybe what makes our Sussex Prairies so enveloping and welcoming !

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and who also doesn’t love a lush planted pathway inviting you into a house ?

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