Gardening Matters

Back to college

haystack oil tankIt’s back to college this week. I had such a good time last year in my art portfolio evening class that I decided to sign up for a part time Art Diploma course at the Tech in Derry. It’s one day a week, which should give me plenty of time to do all of the other things I do in the remaining six days.  I’m not sure what the ‘other things’ are besides gardening, but I’m sure I’ll fit them in.


Art History

The first thing we will be doing every week is looking at art history. There are a lot of well-known artists, although when I was asked who my main influences were I couldn’t think of anyone, not one artist. I have a lot to learn. I could reel off a list of ten great garden designers, but they didn’t count although they are great artists in their own right.
There are similarities to artists that work with canvas and those that work with a spade I think. One big difference that I see is when I design a garden I am thinking what it’s going to look like in 1, 5, or even 10 years’ time, drawing seems a bit more static although the use of colour is important in both. I’m going to enjoy comparing my gardening knowledge with the new art history class.


Lost the plot

I am enjoying the freedom to be creative. Our first project is to create a hat, the more flamboyant the better. Now you would think that I would link up gardening with this but I thought I’d try something a bit different. I have been obsessed with lamps and lampshades recently (I think it’s something to do with the nights closing in and getting ready to hibernate) so it seemed obvious that I would take old bits and bobs in the garage like plastic pipes, cable ties, old buttons and turn them into a lampshade hat. I think it works well – it’s an oversized 1940s German design with a real working light bulb in it (torch). It isn’t that practical though as the base is made from plasterboard so it’s a bit sore on the neck. I see a garden ornament coming when it’s finished.
It’s not all bizarre fun, frolics and goings on though. Next week we are heading out to Ness woods to draw, paint and take photos. It should be right up my street…my two biggest interests combined and no plasterboard in sight. Add a flask of tea to the mix and I am in heaven.


Bargain of the Week

I got a fantastic end of season bargain today: three 3 metre rolls of heather screening reduced from €90 to €10. I had to have them even though it was a total impulse buy and I had no idea where I was going to put them. I walked out of the shop extremely happy.
As soon as I got home and a quick scan around the garden I realised that there were loads of places I could put a screen up. There’s always something to cover up and the priority for me is the oil tank. I did manage to obscure the view of it from the kitchen window this summer by carefully planted climbing bean plants, but they won’t be there in winter.


Where to put it

I put one full piece of the screen around the oil tank and then tied it straight onto the plastic securing the top with a few heavy pots. It looks like a small haystack and although it won’t last more than a year or two it’ll do for now. The cabin veranda (sounds posh but it’s the stickie-out bit of the shed) overlooked the tank as well so that’s improved to view nicely. As the lengths are 3 metres high I cut the second one in half and that has gone along the neighbour’s fence which is giving us a bit more privacy. I am still deciding where to put the third screen, but I’m sure it won’t be long until it’s found a home.
It’s the best tenner I have spent in a long time!

Make sure to get this weeks Inishowen Independent to find out what the Gardener has been up to this week!