Before we get to that. Apologies (again) for dropping out of sight. My usual plan of compiling my Friday post during Friday lunch break at work was scuppered by our IT guys deciding my procrastination about letting them upgrade my office PC to Windows 10 had gone on for quite long enough. The job took most of the day.

So the quick mental health update:

So far, so good. I feel good, productive too. The dizziness has subsided considerably though there was an episode on Tuesday when I went upstairs in a bookshop then was so dizzy I did not dare walk down the stairs again for ten minutes. The real sod about this was that the book I wanted turned out to be downstairs anyway. Of course.

I have also had the great pleasure of welcoming some new WP visitors and followers this week, thanks to the lovely Sarah who reblogged my WFNC anniversary post with such a touching introduction.

Time is becoming a real issue with the advent of peak gardening season. The passion flower picture I have been working on for months is now reaching the end and I am planning my next piece. Though this has taken a while there is some justification in that I have also been creating for projects with Dominique and Lisa, and been organising the business side of my own art output. This coming Saturday I will deliver my three exhibition pieces to London ready for the exhibition in early June.

Prints of some of my work are expected to be delivered to me tomorrow and I hope to have them for sale in a few days.

With regards to future botanical art. My approach, with coloured pencil, is too slow to make it financially viable as much as I love this medium. I hope to try other media but again – I run up against time issues. Learning a new medium from scratch is not going to be fast. However – I could do some graphite pieces which are much faster. I fancy learning gouache because of the fantastic work of Simon Williams. It helps that I am acquainted with Simon and might be able to get some advice or even attend one of his courses.

Also, I am determined to pick my guitar up again sometime soon!

On that note (no pun intended): I can’t let the 25th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death go unmentioned. Whilst I will always respect his decision to end his life (whether other people like that or not) I abhor wasted creative potential. His performance of ‘In the Pines‘ at the band’s 1993 MTV Unplugged performance haunts me to this day. He opens his eyes at around 3:55 and the expression on his face speaks volumes.

Some geeky plant stuff to finish with. Lots of red! All of these are in flower in the same bulb frame today.

Ranunculus asiaticus has featured on here before but this first pair of photos illustrates how hard it can be to tell apart from forms of Anemone coronaria with which it often grows in the wild:

Photo 06-04-2019, 13 52 18
Ranunculus asiaticus
Photo 07-04-2019, 12 42 48
Anemone coronaria

It does not help that both have other colour forms – and often very similar colour forms too, though the Anemone does not have a yellow form as far as I know.

The Anemone does vary even within single colour populations. From the same packet of seed as the above is a common variant with a pale centre:

Photo 07-04-2019, 12 42 38

And finally, a first time flowering for me of the very rare (in cultivation) Anemone bucharica. Closely related to A. coronaria but with fewer petals and a more cup-shaped flower that resembles the Anemone biflora group – with which this species seems to be the link.

Photo 06-04-2019, 13 51 21

Speaking of the bulb frame. Next post I will illustrate my setup – the frames and greenhouse where I cultivate these things.


Oh – and the title. When having a chuckout in my ofice at work I found my first ID card from when I was 25…



  1. You had quite a busy week! And it looks like you will be very busy up until your trip to Montreal. So excited about your exhibition in June. I wish I could be there with you. Lol. Now that I know why you seem so amused on your ID card photo I can’t help smiling. You are so naughty! I look forward to seeing and reading your next post about your greenhouse. Have a lovely week ahead Darren. Hugs and love.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Im so excited about your exhibition! I wish we could be there. I’m with Do, I saw your ID and it made me ๐Ÿ˜ƒ. I am extra excited about you diving into gouache, I am doing the same. It really is a lot of fun. The flowers are so lovely. I really enjoy the red. Love and hugs!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I so wish you could be there for the exhibition too Lisa!

      I aim to start with the gouache later this month. The next week will be a bit too crazy. And both days of next weekend I am away. Susan is working Easter Sat and Sun so maybe I can put aside time then?

      Love and hugs to you too Lisaโค

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you ! Funny that being the new boy at work does not seem that long ago. Yet now I am third- longest serving staff member out of the 80 or so of us! And some days I still feel like the clueless newbie – I just got better at bluffing๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜„

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Aww – thanks for the shout-out, Darren! ๐Ÿ˜ And I’m so happy it did the trick and bring a couple of new visitors to your awesome blog! ๐Ÿ˜„ Can’t hurt with the upcoming exhibition and sales, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Love the ranunculus! Mine are of the filled (?) variety which I guess is more common.
    I’m with you on both accounts regarding Cobain.
    I figured that coloured pencils take an awful lot of time which is why I prefer watercolours or acrylics. Also my arms hurt less with these fluid media! ๐Ÿ˜‚ I’ve never tried gouache though. And I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it faster than you think! Looking forward to see your first painting!! ๐Ÿ˜„๐Ÿ’•

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much Sarah. The new visitors are such lovely people too!
      The ranunculus is indeed the wild ancestor of the filled ones of gardens. I personally prefer these simple wild types which are not often grown. They are familiar wild flowers to those who visit the Eastern Med in spring. The Anemone coronaria is likewise an ancestor of the ‘De Caen’ strains of gardens.

      Repetitive strain injury is a real danger with pencil work. I have a piece I had to abandon in 2015 because I was in too much pain to continue. I think Gouache appeals because it is added dark-to-light, just like coloured pencil is, whereas watercolour is light-to-dark.
      Love and hugs Sarah๐Ÿ˜

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You’re very welcome, Darren! ๐Ÿ˜
        I guessed it might be the ancestor form of my ranunculus and I actually I prefer it too but it’s hard to get, at least I’ve never seen them in your usual garden centres around here. Love the anemone too and had luck with a packet of seeds last year. ๐Ÿ˜Š

        In this case it makes sense for you to try out gouache first. I remember having been terrified at the thought to work from light to dark after years of acrylic painting but then it wasn’t as horrible as I’ve feared at all. You just have to think the other way round. It took surprisingly short a time to get used to. ๐Ÿ˜Š

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Not surprised about the Ranunculus Sarah. Last time it was listed in the RHS plantfinder as the non-filled wild type was over a decade ago. My own have been sourced by scouring seed lists from other growers or from botanists. I currently have very few as they get virus infections very easily.

          Well done with the anemone seed. They can often be tricky from seed. I would happily send you seed from mine (and the ranunculus) when it is ripe.

          I am actually looking forward to trying gouache when I get the time. Thank you for your encouragement!

          Hugs! xx

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I was really lucky with that anemone seed, I had about two handfuls and only one did make it! ๐Ÿ˜€
            And I’d feel honored to get send your anemone and ranunculus seeds!! ๐Ÿ˜€ Just hope they won’t be naughty and do things when I’m not looking. ๐Ÿ˜‰

            You’ve really got me thinking about the gouache now, and next time I go to my local dealer, eh, art supplies shop ๐Ÿ˜‰ , I will get myself a couple of tubes too!
            Have a lovely and creative day!
            Hugs! xxx


  4. Such beautiful photos! Good to see you are doing okay, not worse. Always good to not be doing worse. I know that sounds obvious but I have to tell myself that sometimes to appreciate the goodness in each day.

    The apple you posted on IG was so cool! It made me crave an apple. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ Take good care๐ŸŒป

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Mishka๐Ÿ˜

      Just about to publish another update. This week has been trying at times!

      I have been amazed by the reaction to the apple picture on IG. I don’t even like that picture much myself. Obviously you see something in it that I don’t. Do and Lisa have seen it before as they have access to my image library and they both like it too. Janie Pirie, who commented on it on IG, is actually the person who marked it for the diploma course 4 years ago, so she has seen the original too.
      I do recall that to get the texture of the russet areas I had to use a rougher paper that was not my usual choice, and which I found hard to work with. The slight cream tint to that paper and rough surface make the original look odd in comparison to my other work on very white and smooth Bristol board. I much prefer the digitised version.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. The best apples I knew as a kid were the rough looking ones in my grandparents orchard. It was also where the fearsome chickens lived so my brother and I were too scared to scrump the apples๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ’•. Thank you๐Ÿ’•

          Liked by 1 person

  5. I am so late in commenting here; I do apologize. The flowers are lovely. I am very much looking forward to reading more about your greenhouse methods. Of course, you may have already done so since I have about a week’s worth of catching up to do. The ID pic is priceless, by the way. Those bangs! When I read your grade of ASO, I had to laugh. If you read it as a word and not an acronym, it sounds way too much like ‘asshole.’

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Nah, its the higher grades that fit that word better. It is the old uk scientific civil service rank of Assistant Scientific Officer. Now renamed โ€˜Band 8โ€™. Boring eh? I am now a band 6. Or Higher Scientific Officer. Years of antidepressants and using solvents in the lab not responsible for the โ€˜Higherโ€™ bit. Honest.

      Liked by 1 person

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