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ShareMondays2018 – Art Inspires Art

His Mind's Eye

ShareMondays2018 – Art Inspires Art

I’ve been in Stratford-upon-Avon this past weekend, meeting up with my dear friend Rachel. On Sunday the weather cleared enough for us to enjoy a visit to Shakespeare’s New Place, Museum and Gardens. I had been very excited about seeing these gardens as they are a work of art. Inspired by the works of Shakespeare, the gardens were created by a collective of artists, landscapers, theatre-makers and volunteers. The words of Shakespeare are inscribed within this landscape on pendants, sculptures, benches and on the paving stones.

Meandering through the gardens was truly inspiring! It’s also fully accessible for wheelchair users, which I hope can inspire other UK visitor attractions! This stunning centrepiece is a circle of twenty-six hornbeams (one for every play written at New Place) that encircles the sculpture His Mind’s Eye by Jill Berelwitz. The bent bronze tree could surely have braved The Tempest and expresses Shakespeare’s creativity, the sheer force of his genius. From this angle it seemed to me to be like looking at a giant eye. Perhaps the eye of the storm?

Shakespeare was at his most creative during the nineteen years that New Place was the family home. That creativity lives on in the gardens now. Even more inspirational is that work only began here two years ago, for the four-hundredth anniversary of Shakespeare’s passing. Beyond the yew walk, the Great Gardens are surrounded by the most extraordinary sculptures by Greg Wyatt, each one depicting a Shakespeare play. I think I will find something new in each of them every time I visit. It was tempting to re-ennact a scene from A Midsummer Night’s Dream as Rachel and I enjoyed the Wild Bank at the end of the garden. We both performed the play at sixth form college, I was typecast as the short but feisty Hermia and Rachel was a woodland fairy. Many happy memories were relived during our visit and I know we’ll be back!

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Blue Monday: Poppy Anemone

Nodding Poppy Anemones

Blue Monday: Poppy Anemone

I found these beautiful blues in the Sunken Knot Garden, at Shakespeare’s New Place, in Stratford-upon-Avon this weekend. The gardens are entrancing; a combination of art, sculpture, the written word and planting that takes vistors on a journey around the grounds, that New Place once stood upon, and through the plays and sonnets of Shakespeare himself. This blue poppy anemone really took my breath away so I wanted to share it for this week’s Fotospeed challenge.

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Watching Wisley’s Wagtails – Feed Me!

Feed Me!

Watching Wisley’s Wagtails – Feed Me!

There are five hungry little chicks in the nest in the Wisley Growers Glasshouse! Joe and I are continuing to collaborate in filming and photographing these little bundles of fluff as they grow to adulthood. These images were taken last Monday when the chicks were a mere four days old! By Thursday they had already grown significantly and I could see the start of feathers forming. I have been away over the weekend and strongly suspect that when I get back to see them tomorrow they will be practically spilling out of that neat little nest! The biggest chick is always the one to open up it’s beak widest and quickest but all five are getting regular feeds from the adults and seem to be doing really well. I can’t wait to see them again! This adult’s eye view into the nest is my enty for Wex Mondays this week and I hope to update you all further next Monday.

Hungry Wagtail Chicks

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ShareMondays2018: Sing

Hazel O'Connor

ShareMondays2018: Sing

The brilliant Hazel O’Connor, performing with Cormac de Barra, at the Farncombe Music Club on Saturday Night. She’s singing Rebecca to her lost but unforgotten friend. It was so very moving! I’m also entering this into this week’s Fotospeed challenge.

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Watching Wisley’s Wagtails

Pied Wagtail Nesting in The Glasshouse

Watching Wisley’s Wagtails

Earlier on this year I got to know one of RHS Wisley Garden‘s Glasshouse gardeners on an RSPB birdwalk (wheel in my case!) around the grounds. Joe and I often chat when I’m visiting the glasshouse and he told me about the pair of pied wagtails that nested in his growing area last year. Birds are far from stupid and the pair have returned to the safety of the glasshouses to nest again. I was delighted when Joe invited me to visit, behind the scenes of the public glasshouse, to see these wonderful little birds bring up their latest brood.

It gave me an idea fo a project that might be just the right motivation for me to finally overcome my difficulties in mastering Premiere Pro. As well as photographing the birds, I’ve started to do some short videos that I hope to edit together to create a little educational documentary about the Wisley Wagtails. I hope that it can be used in the Clore Learning Centre, attached to the Glasshouse to inspire the many children who visit Wisley every year. I think grown-ups will rather like it too!

Last week the female was brooding a total of five precious eggs. It’s an unusual situation for a bird lover in that these adult birds are used to staff walking right by them, even moving their nesting pot around, while pruning and watering. I wouldn’t usually get anywhere near as close to a nest for fear of upsetting the adult birds! The shrub in the pot they have chosen has now started to wilt as it can’t and won’t be watered while the birds are in the nest. The plant will be a sacrifice to the safety of the birds and the joy of being allowed to watch the chicks grow.

I’ve been back today….

There are five beautiful baby wagtails which hatched last Friday!

Watch this space each week for further wagtail tales.

This is my entry for this week’s Wex Mondays challenge. Next week I hope I can share the fluffy chicks with you all!

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ShareMondays2018: Fishing Lessons

Fishing Lessons

ShareMondays2018: Fishing Lessons

Just had to share the sight of this juvenile grey heron fishing for newts, alongside one of the adults, in the marshland by the heronry at the British Wildlife Centre. Absolutely wonderful to watch! The heronry has a large number of nests and the herons are all very busy, building, feeding and preening. You can visit the heronry by entry to the British Wildlife Centre and a wander along their Wetland Walk. The centre is only open to the public at weekends, bank holidays and school holidays. Visit their website for more information and details of photography days and workshops.