quantum vis

as much as you please…

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Blue and White in the Garden

Why do we love blue and white pottery? Perhaps because they are the natural colours above us-blue for sky and white for clouds. Therefore, the colour combination seems significant to us.

For centuries blue and white ware has been popular in various cultures.

Blue and white porcelain went into mass production in China during the 14th century supported by importation of cobalt blue pigment from Persia. The early blue motifs were often Persian in nature and when combined with Chinese fine white porcelain the elegant blue and white ware we know today was created.

During the 17th century the Chinese exported to Europe where blue and white pottery was in great demand. However, the Chinese rebellion in the 1640’s destroyed many kilns and the production moved to Japan for about 100 years until the Chinese manufactures recovered.

The Dutch, in Delft, began to manufacture their own blue and white tin glazed ware from about 1640. By the 18th century other Europeans began to produce their own blue and white ware and so Chinese imports into Europe diminished.

The popular willow pattern is an entirely English design from the late 1800s.

I adore blue and white pots and have many in my garden. I tend to group them together to enhance the effect. I purchase them from a variety of stores but many I find in my local China Town where, with astute bargaining, I buy at a sound price.

Here are a few examples of the blue and white ware in my garden.



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Garden Statues



Statues help emphasise particular sections of a garden. They do this by drawing the eye, helping us focus on a particular view by creating a point of interest; a focal point.

The eye is drawn, and without realising it one is looking more deeply at the garden, subconsciously taking greater notice of the environment. Our attention is held, and our curiosity is intensified.

I like to place statues in my garden to give an element of surprise. When a visitor comes across a statue hiding amongst the foliage, it delightfully reveals itself in a playful manner.

I prefer beauty in the garden, so my most important rule is statues should pleasing to the eye and have an element of charm.


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Rock n Roll Blooms


I once knew a conservative vicar with an unusual obsession.

He took me into his confidence when I sat next to him at an Easter luncheon one year.

The vicar recently had attended a conference in the US and afterwards stayed on to holiday in America. I asked him what was his favourite spot in the USA.

Surprisingly he said, Graceland, home of the late Elvis Presley in Memphis, Tennessee.

I hadn’t realised this quiet man of the cloth was a huge Elvis Fan.

Throughout lunch the vicar entertained me with descriptions of Graceland and of his extensive Elvis Presley record collection.

Oddly this reminded me of my collection of succulents.

Like the vicar, succulents have a conservative quietness for most of the year but do show a truly surprising aspect.

When succulents bloom they reveal their wild side and produce bright dynamic flowers, stronger in colour and bolder than most others in the garden.

I like to call them Rock n Roll Blooms.

One day the succulent is growing quietly in your garden and the next they can be sporting  brazen flowers of astonishing colours.

The colour of these blooms in the photograph is superb, it’s a blistering hot pink.

I think they are as flamboyant as Elton John’s costumes, as striking as Beyoncé on a red carpet and as electrifying as Pink herself.

So you see, with such flashy, crowd pleasing flowers, this is why I call them Rock n Roll blooms.

What became of the rock n roll vicar? He eventually became an eminent Bishop and I smile to think of Elvis Presley’s ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ rocking the halls of his Bishop’s Court.


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Weeds or Flowers?


Winnie-the-Pooh’s melancholy friend Eeyore is often quoted as saying ‘Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them.’

The line was actually written by Disney Inc. for Eeyore in one of its animations.

I am not a fan of the Disney makeover of Winnie-the-Pooh. I prefer the original books.

A. A. Milne first began to create the characters, stories and poems in 1924. E. H. Shepard superbly illustrated Milne’s innocent narratives with simple pen and ink drawings.

Together they only produced four modest books – ‘Winnie-the-Pooh’ and ‘The House at Pooh Corner’ as well as two volumes of children’s verse, ‘When We Were Very Young’ and ‘Now We Are Six.’

The books told light hearted stories and poems from the point of view of the child, often featuring a menagerie of toys and their owner Christopher Robin.

I first got to know Winnie-the-Pooh by reading my father’s boy-hood copy, of ‘When We Were Very Young.’ It is a well-read scruffy edition with a faded blue fabric cover. Three generations of children in our family have enjoyed it.

This photograph shows my bottom garden which is overrun with the invasive weed, oxalis. Sometimes known as wood sorrel it has a pretty yellow flower and lush green leaf. Oxalis is virtually impossible to eradicate due to its tuberous root system which can lay dormant in the soil for years.

There is not much I can do about it so I have decided to live with the oxalis and enjoy my cheerful meadow of yellow flowers.

The original Eeyore may not have actually said it, but I do agree… weeds are flowers too.