Gardening Articles

Mucha…. Ado About Something…

1 CommentWednesday, 8 March 2017  |  Alison





Not quite the same Shakespeare title, but there is certainly a lot of romance, playfulness and teasing, rather like Much Ado About Nothing, in many of the paintings, illustrations, advertisements and postcards drawn by the artist Alphonse Mucha over his long career.

Born in 1860 in Moravia, now known as the Czech Republic, Mucha (pronounced Mooka) was a prolific artist of the internationally acclaimed Art Nouveau movement, with his artwork encompassing amongst others, beautiful theatrical and advertising posters.  In 1894, Sarah Bernhardt, the most famous actress in Paris at the time, began what would be a six-year contract with Mucha, with him designing posters for her plays.






I have loved the dreamy quality of Mucha’s work for many years and as a rather distracted and dreamy sixteen year old, back in 1975, I was given some birthday money and with this I was able to go to a local trendy ever so slightly Bohemian art shop, where I had deliberated, on quite a few previous visits, over which Mucha decorative panel I was going to buy.  I chose ‘Nights Rest’ from The Times of The Day Series (1899) and still love to daydream away looking at it to this day!

Admittedly it wasn’t the ‘real thing’, but for me this artwork was real enough, and my very first piece of Mucha art. I loved the soft pastel colours, the ‘looking through the window’ design, the flowers surrounding the wistful looking woman, the tall cypress trees in the background and the general serenity of this picture.  




On a recent, excitement filled, visit to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow, Scotland, a special exhibition of the artist’s work was on display and I was able to fulfil a dream of seeing many pieces of the artwork Mucha did in his life.

Flowers, blossoms, trees and birds feature heavily in a lot of Mucha’s pieces and his love of women and nature are very apparent. The Seasons (1896) are a series of decorative panels with beautiful women showing the harmonious cycles of nature featuring white blossoms for springtime, red poppies for summer, chrysanthemums to symbolise autumn and for winter, a snowy scene with a small bird huddled under a cloak.



Alphonse Mucha died in 1939 at the age of 79, having returned to his home for the latter half of his life and undertaking twenty huge paintings of the Slav people and their history.

All I need to do now is book a long weekend to visit Prague to visit the Mucha Museum and see more of this artist’s wonderful work. Can’t wait!

P.S. - It may have to wait until we have finished our busy season here at the nursery though.

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1 CommentThursday, 26 January 2017  |  Alison
February in your garden

Curling up by a warm fire alongside the cat or dog may seem very appealing during the dark, dank days of February, but there will be plenty of opportunities to take advantage of brighter days with extended daylight hours and crisp sunny days.  If you wrap up warmly, it is always worth ‘doing’ an hour in your garden or at the very least take a stroll down the garden path.  I find the extra layers are soon taken off when digging, raking or planting… just remember to take them inside when you have finished for the day as a frozen scarf is not at all nice to wrap around your neck the next time you need it… and yes I have left mine looped around the pear tree recently.

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Wednesday, 18 January 2017  |  Alison
For the love of Petunias

Petunias, along with fuchsias and geraniums, are one of our best loved annuals and a welcome and popular sight, gracing our British and European summer hanging baskets, bedding displays and patio pots.

But did you know that Petunias are native to South America and are actually perennials, but they are treated as annuals in the UK as these tender darlings dislike cold and will not survive frosts. Petunias are members of the Solanaceae or nightshade family which includes tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, cape gooseberries and the tobacco plant.

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Thursday, 12 January 2017  |  Alison
Trending in a Garden near you in 2017

Taking a peek at the hottest new looks in gardening and design for your home and garden for the new year ahead is always exciting and thought provoking to say the very least.

Who says you have to have ‘this particular potted plant or that curious coloured vegetable’ growing in your flowerbeds? Well, like everything else in life, we can pick and choose, adapt it to suit our own gardens and leave the rest.

But one trend we should all focus on in 2017 is looking after our garden wildlife and birdlife as more of our native garden visitors like hedgehogs, butterflies, bees and birds are less visible than ever before as their numbers have reduced over the last few decades.

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