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.

Sunday 21 April 2013

April evening on the South Bank

After a morning working hard putting the netting on the "pea cage" (I'll tell you more of that another day) we drove down to London . . .

We walked past the shiny new Shard that slices into the sky (as you look at this, imagine the bells of Southark Cathedral pealing out in the background)

We strolled along the Jubilee Walk and past the bridges

We ate ice creams leaning on balcony of the Royal Festival Hall and watched the people below walking in the evening sunshine

We took our seats for the concert (Verdi's Requiem conducted by Daniele Gatti)

After the concert we looked at the twinkling lights on the river.

Friday 19 April 2013

Primula Overture

Primula, its name tells us that it is 'the first', the first to flower in Spring; never has this been more true than than in this year's long awaited Spring. The icy wind from the North Sea was replaced by the warm South-Westerly and the Primroses in our garden rejoiced!

The Brimstone and Comma Butterflies danced over the carpet of Primroses and Violets, a few bees joined in too . . . I wonder what kind of been this is? I love its ginger fur.
btw Twitter has helped me ID this bee as a Common Carder Bumblebee, most likely a young Queen who had survived the winter and will now start a new colony . . . isn't that wonderful!

A few years ago I planted lots of Victorian Polyanthus that I'd grown from seed, these have hybridised with the wild Primroses, at first I thought of weeding out the coloured primroses but there are so many, so we let them mingle.

Last year I was visiting a local 'open garden' when I spotted two little Auricula plants that were left on a plant stall, so I bought them. When they flowered I discovered one pot had two different plants in it, so I carefully potted them up separately. I was now hooked, Auriculas have that effect on people. They are related to Primroses and Polyanthus, but they need a bit more tlc . . . never too hot and not too cold; not too dry but never too wet. If you treat them right they reward you with exquisite flowers . . . like this

I bought three more Auriclas this year, mine are 'just' Garden Auriculas, not the special named varieties, I could plant them in the garden but I think they look more special grown individually in old terracotta pots. I'll divide them to make more plants when this year's flowers have faded - and so I know which plant is which I've given them names. More photos of my small collection here on Pinterest.

Auriculas seem to be the flower of the moment, I wonder why? The history of Auriculas in England is closely linked to the Huguenot silk weavers and it is this story which is told in a beautiful collection of songs, the Auricula Suite I discovered this in a chance conversation with one of my customers - she is one of the musicians.
There is more about Auriculas and the Huguenots on the Spitalfield Life blog, including pictures of a rather lovely Auricula Theatre made from one of those wooden arbour seats that you see for sale in garden centres – now that's a clever idea!