Alongside my teaching, my week at West Dean involved a lot of both looking closely at details and looking (and walking) to points far away. I found myself with nearly two days off before teaching, time to explore, wind down and replenish. Between teaching sessions the gardens were my playground. The wide open views of the South Downs are a much-needed counterpoint to city life. The chance to stretch my vision, my horizon and my legs. The college building and the gardens invite close inspection while in contrast the farther hills and the wider landscape need wide angle eyes to take it all in.
Last year’s Postcard from West DeanPostcard from West Dean
snippets of time out during the Knitting & Stitching Show
wonderful exhibition of textiles from the Atlas Mountains
Museums full of inspiring objects
inspiration in tiny fragments, stains, mosses, growths, folds, fissures, ripples, branches, rocks, lichens, leaves and rain drops.
natural details found in Cornwall
A couple of weeks ago I spent a lovely weekend volunteering for the National Trust in the glorious Ashridge Forest, one of my favourite places in England.
I spent most of my spare moments photographing and identifying wildflowers which were abundant and glorious. I found lots of new-to-me flowers including a White Helleborine orchid (which didn’t photograph so well) and the delightful sight of a newborn deer hidden in the grass just outside the bunkhouse where I was staying.
Being outside all weekend was a real delight and I resolved to spend much more time outside and getting involved in nature conservation. I’ve also been taking part in 30 Days Wild Challenge, which has mostly been 30 days of wildflower spotting! You can find more photos on my Instagram feed.
Brightest of poppies
In the most glorious of wildflower-filled churchyards
Tea and canine companion for our work
Foxglove deep in the forest
Our work site on Saturday
Beechnut looking like a little furry creature
Wildflowers in grass
Chicken of the Woods edible fungus
Amazing beech roots
The scent of summer
Me having fun with a pitchfork!
Newborn deer in the grass outside the bunkhouse
Lichen in the woods
I travel a lot, often for work. I go out of my way to find beautiful places – historic buildings, parks, woods, gardens and meadows. I take a lot of photos. It’s time to share them more. Postcard from… is a new blog series with photos of where I’ve been and what I’ve seen. Pictures are all taken on my phone with no editing.
At the end of May I was teaching for nearly a week at the glorious West Dean College. I spent pretty much every spare daylight moment outside in the gardens, on the estate and walking up the hill to the arboretum despite the grey and the drizzle. It is a truly magical place and I can’t wait to go back next year.