Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

A cauldron of fire

I hope you're enjoying the sunshine . . . someone found the weather switch and flicked it to summer just in time for the summer holidays and the London Olympics. I think the heat setting is a tad too high, but it's lovely to be able to work with the studio door open and not get chilly toes.

To celebrate I weeded and swept the little patio at the back of my studio . . . we've put our 10th Wedding Anniversary Adirondack chairs there, and although they are nearly 10 years old (OMG! I've just worked that out – crikey!) they look lovely and mellow like driftwood (mmm? do Cliff and I look a bit like that too!).


So, I was standing back and admiring my bit of garden 'house-work' and I noticed that the big planter was looking pretty good too . . .


It's been there for three years now, but in March (when we had that teeny taster week of nice weather before the rains of biblical proportions) I was inspired to replant it; I popped along to my favourite local nursery and selected some plants that would look good against the lead grey.


I chose two Heucheras, Actaea Simplex 'Black Negligee' and a pretty Orange flowered trailing Potentilla. The New Zealand Flax was already in the container (I was amazed that it survived the harsh winter and -16C) and I added some plants I already had around the garden – a dark leaved trailing Sedum, a bronze Sedge and a lovely orange flowered poppy, Papaver Atlanticum.

I wasn't thinking about the Olympics when I planted it, but looking at it today in the sunshine it looks like a boiling cauldron of fire . . . very apt for the eve of London 2012.


Did you notice that it's not a real lead cistern?


It's actually an old green plastic water butt that sprung a leak . . . so I cut the top section off and painted it. I've found the photos I took in 2009, so here's how it was done . . .


I used external paint leftover from painting the walls of the house (luckily we had cream and black, so I could mix various shades of grey).


Then I sketched a design in pencil and painted a trompe-l'oeil moulded pattern on one side.

Here's a detail of the central flower . . . you can see the brushwork is quite loose, but it works from a distance.


It's stood outside for three years and amazingly the paint hasn't peeled at all! and I think the new plants make it look even better.



The sun's still out, I'm now going to make the left-over moussaka from last night's supper into pasties for a picnic.

Enjoy the sun and enjoy the Olympics (or avoid them if they're not your thing) who's going to light the cauldron?


Celia
x

25 comments:

  1. At last some scenes of summer :) So much fun to give things a new lease of life. How lovely you can put your artistic touch to the garden accessories too. Beautiful.

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    1. Thank you, the fact it doesn't scream out 'painted plastic water butt' means it was a success!

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  2. Great use of an old water butt - I'd never have guessed. Love the planting combination too. That nursery is on my list to visit this summer.

    Su

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    1. Paugers Plants are great value... you could get lots in the back of your new car ;-)

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  3. We sent you our hot weather. It's back to normal here now.
    Nice use of old plastic bins! I don't have your painting skills, so I use mine for composting chicken manure- obviously tucked far away from the back door.

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    1. Thank you for the sunshine, it's dried up all the rain!

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  4. Lovely touches to your garden. I would be tempted to spend too long sitting out on one of those chairs!

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    1. Actually I find it quite hard to just sit in the garden... I actually prefer weeding!

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  5. You are so talented Celia, that really does look like lead. The planting looks very good too.

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    1. I'm pleased it looks good... it wasn't hard to do.

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  6. Couldn't agree more about the heat setting being too high!

    Love the planter :D

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    1. It's cooled down a bit now, hope the weather is still nice over on your side of the country.

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  7. Celia, this afternoon was filled with lovely summer weather here in NYC. Hot, but not too hot. Now we are under a thunderstorm warning until 11 tonight...could be high winds and hail, too. Oh joy!

    Your garden area looks wonderfully bright, and I do admire your choice of plants for your large planter (and your faux painting also...who would guess what's under that paint.) I would also not have been able to guess the names of the plants you chose for your flame. Bravo on all counts.

    While at the Museum of Modern Art yesterday to see the Boetti show I mention in a blog, I saw another show that I wish you could see. It's called Ecstatic Alphabets/Heaps of Language, and includes some samples from the usual suspects, but also contained some displays totally new to me, that do lead to contemplating how we derive visual imagery linked to our particular language. (This show had a definite tilt towards English and Euro language, with a bit of Cyrillic thrown into the mix. I wish that other cultures had been included, but that would have been a much larger show!

    No storms here yet. Enjoy your warm toes. xo

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    1. Those alphabets sound interesting... I'll go and investigate, thanks for the tip. xx

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  8. I love your fake leadwork! Now there's the added bonus of perfect weather to sit outside & admire your handiwork & planting, glass in hand ready for the Olympics!

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    1. That's an option... more likely I'll listen to the Olympics on headphones while doing more gardening!

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  9. That planter is inspired! I really would not have guessed. I think the temperature is coming back down again this weekend. Not sure whether to be pleased or sad! I don't think we had quite your temperatures up here in North Wales but it was rather wonderful to be hot!

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    1. Yes, better than green plastic... I should have painted it when it was a water butt!
      Or offer my services as a painter of water butts.
      Hope the temperature is just as you like it!

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  10. Thae planter looks fabulous... very coovincing.

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    1. I knew what you meant, Gina :-)

      Just goes to show my mis-speant years working back-stage at a theatre have come in useful!

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  12. That has worked really well - you clever thing you - your plant choices are lovely too.

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    1. I was pleased with the plant choices... they are working well together.

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  13. but without the artistic skill to trompe l'oeil in my hands it would still be a plastic waterbutt pretending. Yours is perfection, and it wouldn't need a forklift to move it!

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    1. It's much easier than you imagine!

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