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I thought you might like to see my model…


No, it’s not a random collection of toilet paper, cotton wool and lollysticks, but a state-of-the-art 3-D representation of a town garden. Oh, all right then, it is a random collection of the bits other people throw out, but I had a fabby time putting it together.

This was the grand finale of the Capel Manor Drawing & Graphics course, which finished today – or rather, today was the deadline for handing in the coursework, which I managed by the skin of my teeth (was frantically cutting up chopsticks with my Felco no 9s over breakfast to make the pergola legs). It wouldn’t win any prizes, but it’s such a long time since I made anything like this that I just had a blast.

The whole course has been a bit of an eye-opener, in fact: can’t believe it’s finished already, it’s gone so quickly. I discovered that I’m not all that good at drawing, though can turn out a passable stab at something recognisable if coerced: but much to my surprise, I do really like graphics, especially the pen work which is fiddly but very satisfying. I think it had a lot to do with being able to see the point of things – being a very prosaic sort of person, I could happily sit for hours drawing Very Precise Circles for planting plans whereas I got a bit impatient with all that painstaking shading and “just let yourself free” arty-farty stuff.

I was reading a recent issue of Gardens Illustrated (one of my favourite magazines) which has a column by the novelist Frank Ronan in the back (ashamed to say I’ve never read any of his novels, but he can sure can write about gardening). One of his last bon mots on the subject of “what is a garden” was “The gardener starts with a plant, not a pencil.”

Precisely.

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