Category Archives: In Bloom

Patchwork Garden

In some ways, my garden is rather like a patchwork quilt with various pieces all sewed together in a kind of hotch-potch order.  One area that needs work is the weed-covered space that slopes down to the Wendy House.  I am not sure what to do with it…more alpines, a rockery or shrubs?  Maybe even a combination of all of those.

The concept of patchwork seems to sum up collage book The Practical Senior Teacher my brother, Philip, and I had published recently by avant-garde Knives, Forks and Spoons Press.  To find out more about the book visit this previous post.


A Moment In Time

IMG_1469A moment in time…that’s all we have.  A garden is such a close reflection of life.  For a while, mine seemed to be holding back on autumn.  Now suddenly, it’s here with a flurry of orange leaves scattered on the lawn, our last apples about to fall and the quince waiting to be picked.  The days have changed so fast from azure sunny skies right up until the beginning of October; but now the mornings are frosty and just a few flowers dot the borders.  Summer is a memory and there’s talk that next week might bring snow.


End of Summer

IMG_2778September has kicked in but, despite the noticeable nip to the air early in the morning, days are still sun-filled.  I have been finishing off jobs: painting the patio walls and, tomorrow, I hope to stain the wood surround.  The cottage garden border continues to retain colour; I will post pictures later.


Blooming Begonias

For good reason I associate Begonias with the 1970’s gardens of my IMG_2784childhood.  Maybe, people grew them then because they seemed exotic.  I suspect that a lot of my contemporaries have the idea that begonias are one of those frumpy plants associated with being middle age.  I have no concerns about whether or not my garden is fashionable.  I guess it reflects my quirky taste; I simply embrace whatever appeals to me.  So, Begonias sit at the front of my cottage garden border; plump, pretty flowers with  petals in pastel pink and buttery yellow.  What isn’t to like?

The Colour Of You

The beautiful blue flowers, Roxanne Geraniums, are so prolific; they have certainly made themselves at home in the cottage border.  As a child I loved the colour blue and had a bedroom themed with blue and brown flowered wallpaper (the epitome of good taste back then..really).

Years ago I recorded the song The Colour Of You with my brothers Phil and Ian.  The lyrics to the chorus, ‘Blue, blue, blue is the colour of you’, were partly in reference to my own fondness for the colour.  But it is also a nod to New Order and their song Blue Monday; bass player Peter Hook took a friendly interest in our band and, arranged for my brothers and I to record in his studio Suite Sixteen with engineer Rex Sargent.   This was one of the songs we chose to do.

Under the name of The Gingerbread Tree we have amassIMG_2781ed a large collection of songs and are now putting them out on our YouTube Channel.   The Colour Of You is one of our catchiest I think and, appropriately, given where we recorded it, a bit of a homage to New Order.


Kahlo’s Garden

IMG_2775I’ve recently been reading a book called Frida Kahlo’s Garden.  It’s about the artist’s life and the house and garden Casa Azul in Mexico City that belonged to her and muralist Diego Rivera.  Kahlo used botanical images in her work and the garden was another form of self expression.  Now a museum, the garden includes unusual desert and  tropical plants alongside lava stone paths, sculptures and a pyramid.

Like so many books, I seem to get half way through and then stop for one reason or another…Anyway, I’ve loved picking through the glossy pages and soaking up ideas for my own space.  I’d love to visit Kahlo’s garden; I don’t expect a book can really do it justice.  My brother, Phil, and I have our own book due out soon The Practical Senior Teacher (published by KFS press) which features some of our collages. Interesting how so many creatives find that gardening, like drawing, painting or collaging, can be another outlet.

The Popularity of Tulips

IMG_2711Tulips are tall and blowsy, a garden show off, bright and fat-petaled.  There is nothing delicate about them, they command attention like boisterous children.

Although not native to the Netherlands, historically, tulips became fashionable there among the rich during a period known as The Dutch Golden Age.  The cost of bulbs reached extrodinary prices before collapsing.  Today, the Netherlands is still the world’s main producer of commercially sold tulips.

IMG_2703In my cottage garden border, the tulips put on a brilliant Spring show.  They definitely took centre stage, nudging out the other more demure flowers. But their petals have faded and their time is definitely over, making way for the Summer blooms.


Even In His Youth

IMG_0556Many keen gardeners consider their patch of green, however small, however unruly, to be a kind of rolling work of art.   I see mine as a collage, ever-changing, patched together.

Under the name The Gingerbread Tree, my brother Philip Davenport and I have collaborated over the years on art and music.  Recently, we’ve been delving into our back catalogue, making choices about what to do with all that we’ve amassed.

One project is collages which Phil and I have been working on for at IMG_0506least twenty-five years.  Inside our book The Practical Senior Educator, collages are layered from a variety of materials:  medical notes, letters from friends and record companies, adverts ripped out of glossy 80’s magazines, wedding invitations; all assembled then dismantled by Philip and myself.  It’s not just art, it’s a pasted testament to the microscopic fragments of our lives.  It’s a comment on history  with torn-up photos dripped in candle wax, pictures of rock stars and half-burnt promotions from yesteryear cramming the pages.  It’s a project that never stops. We’re still altering its content now, we probably always will.

IMG_0520The Practical Senior Educator will be in an exhibition this month called Understanding The Ritual at The Storey in Lancaster.  Curated by innovative artist Pete Flowers, The Gingerbread Tree will appear alongside the iconic Gaye Black (formally Gaye Advert of punk band The Adverts) and, renowned poet Jerry Rothenberg.  Other select artists include: Adam Gregory & Gillian Jane Lees, Darren Andrews, Geoff Parr, Kate Eggleston-Wirtz, Sally Slade Payne, Sue Flowers and Sumit Sarkar.

For Phil and I, finding ways and places to show the content of this unique book is the start of another journey.

Collages: “Girl Column” (circa 1990), “Bad Flowers for Baudelaire” (right) (circa 1989), “The Pond in April” (2000)

THE PRACTICAL SENIOR EDUCATOR, by The Gingerbread Tree (circa 1990)