Inspired by the Chelsea Physic Garden’s Herbarium (that is a collection of dried plant specimens), I have decided to keep a botanic record of the Castle Gardens and the surrounding countryside. My record of pressing and labelling dried plant specimens is patchy, so I thought it would be nice to paint the door panels of my study with the plants I love the most and Rachel Pedder Smith is doing this for me. The panels will include flowers, fruit and berries, autumn leaves and insects. Rachel is scouring the countryside for the samples she needs and has asked me to supply the Horsetail. Now this I can do in abundance, for both panels! The countryside panels ( not listed in latin, too tricky for those who don’t use it) might include some of the plants visible on the Duver and surrounding fields: Sea Thrift, Sea Kale, Chamomile, Old Man’s Beard, Mallow, Samphire, Bryony, Autumn Squills, Acorns, the berries of hawthorn, the caterpillar of the Cinnabar Moth.
The house panels are to reflect the main plants I found when we bought the house, so it could be include many things, but when I look back I think the following were most striking: the large quantity Cyclamen, Early Purple Orchid, Mulberrys, Strawberry tree, Camellia flowers (so many, which to choose? and the fruit of the Camelllia in evidence now), Katsura tree, Judas tree, the leaves of the Gingo, common violets, little black toads and red squirrels, sadly both too big for my panels. As we don’t move in for another 52 weeks, Rachel has an abundance of time in which to do her paintings.
Here is a sample sheet of Rachel’s, just to approve the overall layout. When the walls are hung with botanic drawings and I am surrounded by my gardening books, I think this will be as close to Earthly Paradise as is possible.