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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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img_1367The aim :

to make the longest strip of denim in the world , or certainly in Sussex to support the Jeans for Genes Charity – Genetic Disorders UK. the charity that aims to transform the lives of children with genetic disorders.We shall create denim covered collecting boxes along the trail around the garden !

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How will it work :

Running as a trail from our entrance right through the garden , sinuously weaving through the borders. Stitched into the piece will be tabs dispensing information and facts about the process of making denim (the good , the bad and the ugly facts ) facts about indigo seeds and the dyeing process , and the story of the wearing of denim work pants by north american pioneers etc… zips, button flies , tags and pockets will create the joints along the way and will add to the fabric wonder.Have calculated the trail will be at least 1km long.Yikes !

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The First Rules I have set myself

  • only to use orange cotton to stitch it all together (Levis used orange stitching which was originally designed to match the copper rivets first used in jeans by Nevada tailor Jacob Davis).
  • the strip will be kept at 7″ wide
  • vow to go and see the  Ian Berry exhibition Gallery Different at Catto Gallery- Ian is famous for making photo-realistic pictures in denim

img_1378Day 1 – Friday 18th November 2016

I make a start with three of our lovely volunteers starting to cut up the first swathe of jeans and a big learning curve begins !

  • The difficulty of cutting up a really tough fabric – you can see why it was the workwear fabric of choice (first casualty -brand new pair of Japanese scissors !)
  • The realisation that I won’t be able to actually use the zips for linking the strips !
  • The discovery that the button waistband fasteners will have to do the job
  • The obvious discovery that bog standard machine needles are not up to the job (second casualty – 2 broken machine needles)(note to self – order denim grade needles for machine )

to be continued……….

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p1010748Its not just size that matters – Space matters in Japan .Finding that luxury of an inch  is precious, so making that every inch count in gardening terms is crucial. And so it is with squeezing your green spaces into an urban environment.

p1000632Looking for a leaf- squeeze it in a brick-thick slither of ground next to your front door.But it has to compete with all the other paraphernalia of life at the same time.

p1000690Looking for that green gasp of texture – shoehorn it into a pot or container artfully cramped on the threshold.There is rare beauty captured in a second.

p1020166Collections of pots seems to work as well to build up a range of textures and variations on a theme – very much a theme of -green.

p1000651And there is of course the very essence of the thing which is all about control and discipline.An ikebana of a paring down to what is essential and what can be taken away until all you can see is the chosen plant or planting. The bare essentials of a garden.

p1010298I admit I feel like I am in a bit of a strait jacket here in this place.Straining against the constraint .Japan – This place of extreme control.I long for our wide open space of Sussex Prairies. I yearn for that voluptuous exuberance of planting again .. oh for that luxury of space.

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Pushing to the Peak

dsc00272a crescendo of awesomeness  is here to greet everyone who is bold enough to visit a prairie garden like ours in the autumn. This is the time when the metallic sheen of the grasses shimmer above the perennials blitz of late colour and the soft subtlety of autumn invites one and all to run tentative fingers through the grassy seed heads.

DSC00372.JPGFrankly this is one of the highlights of the prairie style in our garden where the grasses seem to lend an ethereal wispy beauty above the garden . And there is a special kind of colour and softness added to the borders. This is when everything seems to come together is a final moment of magic. The flowers are on the cusp of falling away with a burst of brilliance caught in low level sunshine , the seed heads are crisp and tight, stems still taut and straight . There is an amazing contrast between the dying and the living and the battle is worthy of a look .

dsc00243It’s all about getting to the summit of spectacle. Many of the big grasses are colourful in the extreme .. dark purples,golds and silvers shimmer high over the tops of the leaves . Many are still yet to flower and wait the perfect moment to do so. Perennials that have spent their energies on achieving a peak of floweriness will continue to do so until the first frost .The garden is awash with colour even now . Blues, golds,purples,fuchsia pinks, deep amethyst colours . Banks of asters explode into a million flower heads catching the sun on their petals .

img_9768Is it because people just seem to give up on garden visiting in the autumn .. what is so important in their lives that visiting a garden just falls off the agenda ? is it the hassling chill of autumn ? is it the threat of  a rainy or cloudy interlude ? is it because the sandals are packed away for another year ? Dew on your boots ? what is it ? why don’t you come and catch beauty’s last breath ? Start in the foothills , and make the bid for the summit , you won’t be disappointed !

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bazaarimagefThis summer you don’t have to travel to India to do your shopping ! We are very excited to be welcoming Jo Hall and her team to our Sussex Prairie Garden  for a very special Indian Summer over four days     26th – 29th August     10am-5pm .

bazaarimage4From the wilds of colourful Rajasthan and the many corners of India ,Jo has sourced an incredible array of treasures for your delight and wonder.

bazaarimageaThis will be an event in Marquees in Sussex Prairie Garden.Gorgeous clothes in cottons and vintage sari silk,semi precious designer jewellery,scarves,home furnishings and gifts – all ethically traded from India.Christmas shopping (dare I say it ) can start early this year !

bazaarimage5And not only will we have a feast for the eye but also a feast for the mouth too as Alex’s curry “Dhaba” will be serving delicious authentic curries from 12 noon over the course of the four days.So you can get a real taste of India in all senses of the word.
bazaarimagebJo Hall will be giving a talk on textiles and Nepal and there will be woodblock printing for kids and adults !
Timings for the talks are as follows,

Sunday 28th Aug, 11am
“Coverings”
Clothing in traditional and modern Rajasthan,
exploring identity, women, caste and culture.
Monday 29th Aug, 11am
“Mud, Mirror and Stitch”
A look at some of the traditional textile making processes in India.

Both talks will also include insights into the ongoing situation in Nepal since the earthquake, and the campaign Jo has been running to raise awareness for those who have lost their homes.
http://www.bazaarshop.co.uk
http://www.facebook.com/bazaarfairtrade    and http://www.sussexprairies.co.uk

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Silver grey bowl detail

Joining us as one of our artists whose work we shall be selling through our gift shop is the very talented Rosemary Myles- mosaic maker.

In Rosemary’s Own Words –
“After many years being office-bound, in 2014 I finally found myself with the time to indulge in some hobbies, and spend more time outside walking in the beautiful Sussex countryside, and gardening, and to explore mosaic, which I had very briefly tried the year before at a couple of excellent workshops with local mosaic artists. I have never considered myself to be particularly artistic (and actually still don’t!), but I do get great pleasure from designing and creating mosaics, from the early stage of tracking down the materials and base items, exploring colour combinations and the satisfaction of the final stage of grouting, Generally my inspiration comes from a love of nature, and sometimes it is just a simple mix of colours that get me started on a design.
Grouting1After discovering the ‘pique assiette” style of mosaic, using broken china pieces to form a mosaic, I now I enjoy mixing things up a little by using vintage china within traditional ceramic or glass tiles on items such as flower pots. jugs and trays. I use the more intricate cut tile work for plaques and bowls.

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I am now selling my work at occasional art or craft fairs, and am delighted to have mosaics for sale at Handmade at Cranleigh, and at the beautiful Sussex Prairies Garden.
I am a member of the Horsham Artists Open Studios Group”

Rosemary Myles/Studio28 Mosaics : Unique mosaics designed and crafted by Rosemary. http://www.studio28mosaics.com

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emmabennettPavillion dusky PINK 2mb watermarkedNew card art in our teashop for this season comes in the form of Emma Bennett’s wonderful cards.

emmabennettBrighton Beach ORANGE 2mb watermarkedA bit about Emma
‘Emma has lived in Sussex most of her life, and in Brighton and Hove for about 10 years. Her art is inspired by the places she travels and her surrounds in Brighton. She mainly sketches cities she has visited, often from her own photographs. Here you’ll see her Brighton artwork and photography, but she also covers cities such as Barcelona, New York, Vienna, Rome, Bruges, Las Vegas, Amsterdam and Valencia to name just a few.

emmabennettWelcome to Las Vegas coloured WATERMARKEDEmma states ‘There is no deep meaning to my art, I simply sketch the places that have a memory for me. I also sketch them as it’s exactly the kind of art I’d put on my own wall.’

emmabennettGaudi roof yellow WATERMARKED

She sells her artwork as any colour background you choose. Pick the image, the size of print, and one background colour and she can put it together.’

Web: http://www.artbyemmabennett.co.uk
Email: emmabennett171@hotmail.co.uk
Facebook: artbyemmabennett
Twitter: @EmmaBennett29

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