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Posts Tagged ‘garden’

a visit to the house of Kawai Kanjiro was truly inspirational -not only for seeing the artworks of the folk potter himself but really for the chance to enjoy the garden that has been created around the house .

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a very unassuming door sign belies the treasures found within.Typically first appearances were deceptive.. a very closed black entrance way …

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and what was behind the door ? – a magical almost musical box of a house clearly crafted with storage,space  and light in mind.

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from one moment we moved from soaring ceilings to another more intimate series of small collections of text and images .

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simple crafted furniture pieces set like sculptures

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with an economical use of materials and a wonderful resonating patina of age and use

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and then the views through the windows and out into the garden

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from pots , to giant kilns, to artfully organised plants and sculptural pieces

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A lucky cat with some money on his head – a winner !

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and then there was a ghostly gheisha caught through a shoji screen portal !

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a great calmness came upon us as we wandered around this perfectly crafted space

 

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plants carefully chosen seemed to have a particular vibrancy and vigour in this protected space and those plants who arrive by chance also eagerly exploit the situation to their own ends !

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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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We are delighted to be be able to announce that we are hosting the launch of Anne Kelly’s latest book -Textile Natureon  Sunday 26th June 2016 , 1pm until 5pm.Anne and a number of the artists who collaborated with her and whose work feature in the book should also be here  to enjoy the garden .

Anne Kelly Detail from Natural History Waistcoat

 

Anne Kelly Bags Quilt

We were very lucky to have welcomed Anne as our Artist in Residence at Sussex Prairies in 2014 ,and Sussex Prairies ,and the influence it had on Anne’s work is beautifully documented in the book.

Jennifer Collier Birdhouse

Jennifer Collier Birdhouse

As gardeners and designers we are continually exploring nature in all its forms , textures and hues in the natural gardened world . From the smallest of stem colours,shapes and textures to the largest of leaves and flower structures we are exploring the endless possibilities of pattern and texture.

Hillary Waters "Untitled"

Hillary Waters “Untitled”

This has been our inspiration in creating a huge living and dynamic natural ‘canvas’ here at Sussex Prairies. In the same way we can clearly identify with both Anne and many of the textile lovers and creators who come to our garden to visit and run workshops.

Specimen Box Jane Nicholas

Specimen Box Jane Nicholas

Lovers of the natural living world will also be inspired by the focus on birds, insects and wildlife in the book  and we are very pleased to have created a link with Sussex Wildlife Trust who will joining us for that day as part of their ’30 Days Wild’ initiative. Sussex Wildlife Trust will be holding a raffle  that day and you will have a chance to win an Anne Kelly original piece of artwork , as well as artwork from other artists featured in the book.

http://www.annekellytextiles.com

 

 

 

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IMG_0067This time of year – January  and February is the time of year when Paul and I start to burn down our Sussex Prairie garden and people are shocked and stunned and always ask us why . So it is time to tell the story.

IMG_5740Why do we Burn our Prairie ?

Big spaces require big solutions and our garden is no exception to this . We have probably now over eight acres of garden requiring to be razed to the ground at some point over the winter months. More traditional methods in your average garden would include cutting down with secateurs, scythe or strimmer. But we have a different solution because of the size of the task.

Burning is a quick , clean and dramatic way of clearing away all the dead last years growth and solves the problem of what to do with the mountain of material created in such a clearance.

IMG_1260Because it is Fun and a little bit dangerous !

Burning the garden on a big scale is a whole load of fun too and is one of the tasks our volunteers love to lend us a hand with . Everyone loves a good blaze after all .

IMG_5854How do you do it ?

In ideal weather and ground conditions we prefer to be able to leave the garden standing all winter and allow the winter frosts and winds dry the stems,stalks and leaves to a crisp.This would mean that on a windy and dry day we could burn the garden in situ without further ado. A dramatic and scary solution !

This year has been a bit of an exception with major wet  and warm weather leaving many plants green in many parts and this means that they  will not burn fully whilst standing in place. So we have created the bonfire burn this year . This involves building mini bonfires throughout the bed on the pathways and  we have had to cut and burn as we go.

However the big clumps of grasses have been burnt in their place and what a roar of flame and crackle of fire ensued!

IMG_5847But what about the plants ?

people ask do the plants get damaged ..?. well they don’t because we do this at a time of year when the plants themselves are dormant . Their roots  and buds are safely underground and are not damaged by the fire which moves quickly overhead (thats why we need a windy day to carry the fire quickly and ferociously over the top of the plants) A good Wind and Dry weather is the key !

 

 

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DSC06215when we look for that freedom of planting  and subtle touch of colour and texture we really need look no further than some of the planting schemes devised by nature herself .

DSC06206On the beach on the fringes of Napier, New Zealand , we saw some of the most wonderful combinations and hues artlessly put together without any hand of man involved. It is for this artless and effortless beauty that we all strive.

DSC06214Some of the flowers would open but fleetingly during the day in the sunshine giving a totally different scene if you happened upon them later in the day.DSC06209

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ohbeehivecardOh Beehive !

Feel the buzz and make a bee line for Sussex Prairies from 1st June  when we shall be celebrating our love of bees ! Pollenicious baby !

DSC04666Our whimsical celebrity, Austin Flowers ,will be creating a buzz in the largest beehive in Sussex. Find him bee- hind you in his foppish attire and count his collection of pin badges and  jewellery as part of the bee quiz .Will you be bold enough to feel the bees in his bee box ?

BisforbeeYou can also follow the bee trail of bee factoids around the garden.. you will be able to answer such questions as -what does a Queen do ? how fast  can a bee fly  ? how do bees communicate ?how long have bees been here  ?  how is honey made ?

and finally make it to the teashop and the  Queen Honey Cake Tower   ! and sample some of our cakes made with honey , herbs and flowers.Bee – licious !

alisoncatchlovebeeWe shall be joined by local beekeepers and a local blacksmith and green woodworker making bee related items on Friday 5th , Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th June 2015. The sculptor Alison Catchlove will be exhibiting her bee sculptures in the garden..

Dates for the Chelsea Fringe Oh Beehive

Monday 1st June             1pm -5pm

Closed Tuesday 2nd June

Wednesday 3rd June     1pm -5pm

Thursday 4th June         1pm – 5pm

Friday 5th June               1pm – 5pm

Saturday 6th June         1pm – 5pm

Sunday 7th June             1pm – 5pm

Venue : Sussex Prairie Garden , Morlands Farm, Wheatsheaf Road (B2116 ), Near Henfield, West Sussex , BN5 9AT.

Tel 01273 495902 email morlandsfarm@btinternet.com website http://www.sussexprairies.co.uk

Follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sussex-Prairies and Twitter @sussexprairies and on Pinterest- look out for the board celebrating Oh Beehive !

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Small front gardens in Assam , northeast India :This is colourful bungalow land.. A low rise legacy of  low level living.

DSC01290We very much enjoy this road side feast of colour and pretty pastels. Imagine turquoise,pink and green painted bungalows and many front gardens reaching beyond just the necessity of vegetable production and seemingly gardening in colour with plants for beauty’s sake.We even see some topiary !

DSC01322Or maybe it is just the exuberant growth of the Assam climate that  gives us this voluptuous array of flowers.Certainly it seemed very out of the ordinary for the typical Indian garden  which has more to do with vegetable and fruit production, animal husbandry – pigs, chickens , cows roaming in happy abandon and still the washing gets hung out to dry …..

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for practicality’s sake tin roofs of course are still the norm DSC01327but that rusty patina has  a certain charm….and are of course the perfect drying place for those oh so hot chillis.

It is a step beyond the normal indian garden for sure .. where has all the rubbish gone ? Assam is pristine and glorious and quite the little eden to revisit in the future….DSC01724

 

 

 

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