Gardens of Delight at the Bedford Festival

So shall I build...In October we visited the Bedford Garden Festival on our way to and from Port Elizabeth. We explored the delights of 7 colourful gardens, and took lots of photographs along the way. The dry conditions plaguing the Eastern Cape, had not affected these exquisite gardens, and bore testament to the tenacity of their gardeners. The heat did not deter the car loads of visitors, nor did it bother us. Every garden was a stunning spectacle and a treat for the senses. I hope my sketches can convey in some small way, the treasures that we found at every garden we visited. We started with Chestnut Grove and moved on to Cavers and Kelvinside. Then we came back through Bedford to Maastrom and finally Albertvale. On our return trip we visited Fairholt and Eildon. The six sketches of this series were the views that inspired me the most, but there were many more that I’d still love to paint in the future; and as Henry Miller once said, “What the painter sees, he is duty bound to share”

All the following paintings are  pen & wash. Watercolour on Saunders Waterford 300g. size: 350 x 260 mm.

Kelvinside and Albertvale's garden room
Kelvinside and Albertvale's garden room

Under the oaks of Cavers
Under the oaks of Cavers
Chestnut Grove
Chestnut Grove

Here are 20 lovely quotes that speak  about gardens  more eloquently than I am unable to convey with my paintings and thoughts:

1.  Whenever nature is nurtured with talent and tenderness,….a stirring moment is created. – Anon

2.  The only limit to your garden is at the boundaries of your imagination. -Thomas D. Church

3.  Once more I shall see the world as a garden through the eyes of a stranger, my breath taken away with surprise by the painted fields. -Robert Lynd .

4.  A garden is the purest of human pleasures. It is the greatest refreshment to the spirits of man, without which, buildings and palaces are but gross handiworks. – Francis Bacon

5.  With tumbled hair of swarms of bees, and flower robes dancing in the breeze, with sweet unsteady lotus glances, intoxicated, spring advances. – Sanskrit poem.

6.  Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn. – Elizabeth Lawrence

7.  Gardening is a habit of which I hope I am never cured, one shared with an array of fascinating people who have helped me grow and bloom among my flowers. – Martha Smith

8.  A garden is a delight to the eye, and a solace to the soul; it soothes angry passions, and produces that pleasure which is a foretaste of paradise.

9.  Gardens are theatres; they are there to enchant, to exhilarate, to deceive and to captivate. – Mirabel Osler

10.  There was a time when meadow, grove and stream, the earth and every common sight, -to me did seem apparelled in celestial light, the glory and freshness of a dream. – Wordsworth

11.  Oh, Adam was a gardener, and God who made him sees, that half a proper gardener’s work is done upon his knees, so when your work is finished, you can wash your hands and pray, for the glory of the garden, that it may not pass away. – Rudyard Kipling

12.  We come from the earth, and we return to the earth, and in between we garden. – Anon

13.  The exceeding beauty of the earth yields a new thought with every petal. The hours when the mind is absorbed by beauty are the only hours when we really live. – Richard Jeffries

14.  And if you voz to see my rosiz, as is a boon to all men’s noziz, -you’d fall upon your back and scream, -‘O Lawk, O Crikey!  It’s a dream!’ – Edward Lear

15.  The garden is a grand teacher. It teaches patience and careful watchfulness; it teaches industry and thrift; above all it teaches entire trust. – Gertrude Jekyll.

16. Stoop where thou wilt, thy careless hand  some random bud will meet; thou canst not tread, but thou wilt find, the daisies at thy feet. – Thomas Hood

17.  Nature is painting for us, day after day, pictures of infinite beauty, if only we have the eyes to see them. – John Ruskin

18.  There are landscapes you’d like to contemplate, landscapes you’d like to stroll through, and then there are landscapes where you could stay forever.

19.  I can see myself doing other things, but I will garden forever. Once a gardener, always a gardener. – Dairmuid Gavin

20.   I thought, if I cannot be a pine in God’s forest, I may be a tiny flower to send the fragrance of Jesus in this world of sadness.






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