13 Jul 2023
Well, if you want to fall back in love with your garden after a bad case of the blahs, I’ve discovered the best way is to invite a children’s book illustrator to come and take photos.
This is Hannah Rounding, the wildly talented illustrator with whom I’m lucky enough to be working, for my upcoming children’s book, The Magic Garden Frog (Graffeg, publish date TBA).
It’s based on a true story that began when my grandkids and I were enchanted to find a handsome frog in my pond. I thought of the stories of the ensorcelled frog who was really a handsome prince…who then turned back into a human for the happy ending. It’s pretty human-centric, that story, with an implied assumption that somehow frogs are – wrong. Cursed. And that only humans are really lovable. Debatable, I thought, if you were born a frog. Especially since we humans have managed to create a world in which frogs are now endangered.
And then I thought – what if the handsome frog is wonderful just as he is? And he stays that way? And it’s the humans who turn into frogs, to join him in his underwater world? What would they learn? What would they see? And most importantly, what would they know at the end of the adventure, that they didn’t know when the story began? If you want to understand frogs, be a frog. That’s what imagination is good for!
So, that’s the story I told my grandchildren. They loved it, and kept asking me to retell it, so I finally wrote it down. And then Graffeg kindly agreed to publish it, and asked for me to write an entire Magic Garden series. One thing led to another, and there I was yesterday, showing Hannah around the garden, telling the story of The Day We Found the Frog, and falling in love with the garden all over again.
Thanks for that, Hannah! ; )
Hannah’s website is here, if you want to have a look. She lives right here near us in Ceredigion, specialises in nature art, illustration and community art…SUPER cool, check it out! https://www.hannahrounding.com/.
Other good and non-blah things about the Magic Garden at the moment include:
Fountains of sweet peas. I literally can’t keep up with cutting them, they’re outpacing me! Vic the Garden cut bunches to give to the team, and here they are outside HQ, free to a good home:
The butterflies and bees are grooving on the lavender. The way they fly around afterwards, I suspect they might be a little drunk! They certainly seem to be enjoying themselves. I like to go and sit in the chair by the lavender and just watch them roll from blossom to blossom, like some kind of angelic pub crawl.
The garden outside the stone dairy is going ballistic at the moment, all flame-colours. The alstromeria is more exotic by the day, and the Totally Tangerine geum continue to flower like a mad thing –
The blue of the borage is exactly the hot blue of the inside bit of a candle flame – love it!
And the containers continue to do their container-thing…bit more exciting now that the antirrhinums have finally started to poke their candle heads up and show some colour to compete with the bright pink petunias.
Goodness, it’s nearly time again to order bulbs to plant in the autumn, seems like we just DID that, isn’t time flying by!
Wishing you loads of inspiration and many busy pollinators –
Hugs from the garden,