Rhubarb in the Rain

Tuesday, 16th May 2006

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Rhubarb drawn by Lila Das Gupta

Lila Das Gupta, the veg and allotment correspondent for the Daily Telegraph, is reviewing my book and she's come up on the train from London for the day to take a look at the Rough Patch itself. Unfortunately because of the wet weather over the weekend Barbara and I haven't had chance to give it a real tidy up and trim. There are always corners of a garden that you wouldn't want a gardening correspondent to see!


rhubarbAfter we've chatted for a while, sitting at the patio table with a mug of tea, Lila takes me up on my suggestion that she might like to join me in doing a drawing; I've been trying to explain my work to her but the best way to understand what drawing in the garden is all about is simply to sit down, relax, take a good look at whatever is in front of you and enjoy drawing.

I think this is the first time she's drawn since schooldays but Lila is soon engrossed. It's not surprising really as there are parallels between drawing and writing; both involve taking a closer look, capturing a moment and creating a mood. As a gardener she's already in the habit of taking time to look at plants.

She draws the rhubarb in the hedge, which has thrown up a flower stalk this year. A light shower of rain doesn't put her off; I run in and fetch her an umbrella. There's a particular leaf with a tricky perspective that she says she's had trouble with that has thrown out the rest of her drawing a bit but she's caught the character of the plant; the swagger and stateliness of this familiar allotment plant.

She comments that she's never been anywhere where the birds are so noisy. They really have been noisy this afternoon. Not just chirping and singing but coming out with the most raucous cacophonies.

Her article should be appearing soon in the Telegraph's Saturday gardening supplement. Next Page


Daily Telegraph

Rough Patch

Richard Bell, richard@willowisland.co.uk

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