Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Business linking?

Attending the first of the business link courses was exciting. Only 7 out of 14 turned up which was a shame but it was an extraordinarily hot Saturday so probably not that much of a surprise.

Really it was more of a 'things to consider' event for those who have just started thinking about new businesses and indeed I was the only one who had actually committed to starting. Nevertheless fun to hear all the varied ideas for new businesses.

The business plan is underway as is searching and applying for local new business grants!

Work experience

I was lucky enough to have two days with Charlotte Rowe and her assistant last week. Full days with site visits, clients, 3d modelling and planting plans crammed in.

Interesting to see a thriving practice on a day to day basis how hectic it is and how much work goes into all those fabulous looking gardens not to mention the PR & marketing of the brand.

Great to learn some SketchUp tips from Tomoko and also to be able to pass some on!

Seeing gardens that have yet to be photographed was a treat sadly my camera card decided to develop a fault so I lost all my images :( I will have to wait to see them in print sometime in the coming year.

Are herbaceous borders still PC?

The day after a big downpour of rain is not usually the best day to visit a garden full of herbaceous borders however we have had so much sun and heat of late that my thinking was they would be perkier and less wilty than they have been laterly.

After a cool start the sun battered down in the huge circular herbaceous gardens at Angelsey Abbey. Not a spot of shade to be had on any of the benches. It looked, as a whole fabulously floriferous and he budding Hemerocallis (day lily) and Crocosmia (montbretia) promising great things to come later in the season. But really, on closer inspection it is somehow odd to find every plant so ferociously staked and tethered into place. Each delphinium had a pole, the Thalictrum flavum subsp Glaucum staked similarly. Others with more stamina, Echinops, Achillea and some monstrous Cephalaria were un-bound and none the worse for it. With such dense plantings it seems a laborious task that fetters the view, does it really need to be like this?

I can hear the head gardeners railing that it must look good at all times and the only way to stop delphinium flop is to bind them mercilessly to a pole. Indeed at well over 2m I suppose their weight would make them susceptible to sharp gusts of wind though shelter from the thick 3m high Fagus sylvatica hedge must provide some protection?

It just seems too much somehow. I like my delphiniums un-hampered and elegantly swaying in the breeze although truthfully mine (also pacific giant) rarely last in the garden for long and are cut for floral gestures and grandeur inside the house

SGD Photo competition

Each year the Society of Garden Designers hosts a series of competitions for students to show off their work. This seems to be aimed at final year students in degree courses given time scales but some of the OCGD year of 2010 will be entering examples of their work this year.

The Photographic section is due today, 30th June, and I sent of the required CD (well DVD in fact) yesterday with almost all the competition information filled out!

The night before we had an exceptional downpour of rain followed by weak early morning sun. Perfect for flower shots. So in my PJ's I pottered in the garden at home currently burgeoning with floral offerings and shot a fabulous Philadelphus which has lurched to my side of the fence from next door. They have hacked it into submission on their side, on mine it flops and flows with abundant white blooms.

I often shoot in the garden in the early morning, camera and sometimes tripod in hand. I sit on a chair waiting for the sun to pas the big Bay Tree and filter over the roof tops for just the right amount of light on a subject. A south east facing garden turns out to be delightful it terms of good morning light!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Strutting your stuff.......

The final exhibition (some 20 marks of the whole) was hosted yesterday at St Hugh's College in Oxford. Beautiful airy light room with ample parking directly outside, next years students are very fortunate to have this as their new venue for studies.

Anticipation was high after a late night helping friends complete some documents for the big hand in, we arrived to erect boards and gather our 9 month hard work onto big blue boards for inspection and admiration from friends, family, examiners, tutors and other interested parties.

It is always exciting to see what other people have come up with and our exhibition stands were no different each had his or her own feature and layout and selection of work. One person covered the entire blue board with wall paper, to tone down the vibrant colour, some had photographic banner boards with their shiny new logos and evidence of photographic excellence, there were an assortment of wonderfully creative business cards and of course the work.

To see it all displayed together is striking, how far we have all come and how much we have all achieved. Each one knowing his or her own struggles but all showing highly competent work to the public and no one failed to impress.

In the morning the friendly external examiner chatted to each of us about our work, our journey and our strengths. A positive experience and the first of many unguarded compliments about my work.

Duncan and Carol kicked the more public events off with champagne and thank you flowers and suddenly there was a flow of guests and visitors. Talking to people about my work was interesting and their comments sometimes surprising. I was genuinely surprised by how many people commented on the quality of rendering as I haven't felt it was that appealing to anyone but me!

later in the afternoon our essays, freshly marked, were handed back and having gained a distinction I was completely thrilled.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

and on a completely different note.....

How about this for a fabulous idea for wedding favours......not that I am planning on getting married but the idea is transferable to other gift givings methinks!

And they got them from......

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Moody Board

How I hate the mood board and it seems it hates me right back!

I completed 4 in one evening, late in the evening and although they look, to me at least artistic and moody I am clueless as to whether the 'client' will think they capture the mood of the garden.

What do you think?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

planting plans ...DONE

Planting plan around the hot tub deck, 1 of 12 plans for project 3.

Final straight is in sight amazingly. Planting plans completed this evening and VW sheets all tarted up beautifully to look elegant and professional.

It did occur to me that whilst I am struggling away vociferously through the course and the trials it has brought, I have in fact learnt and ENORMOUS amount and am incredibly proud of the work I have achieved, ok so it's not perfect but it's first stages of a new career, it's not likely to be perfect, just yet anyway. I suppose that is something else I have learned how to let go of being perfect and to prioritise enough to get things complete.

The exhibition preparation might even get a whole 5 days...maybe 4 is more realistic though.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

the cascades

Cascade drawings complete. I cannot quite believe they are all completed, just need to be printed and bound and they are done.

Cascade drawings are the lower level of details required by the contractor, setting out, drainage, paving, contour and level changes and so on down to the tiniest detail in construction drawings.

A whole bunch of admin correspondence is also complete and the todos list is looking possible - almost!

No letting up though, having seen a couple of ex-student websites clearly the competition is high so a good final mark is vital.

Competitive moi?! I think so!

last legs?

As I head into the final week of the course, well the course before the Exhibition I am realising there has been no down time to speak of since December. The garden, mine that is, is looking a bit bedraggled. Plants flopping where they want, things in need of pruning lolopping wildly wherever they find some light and seedlings (weedlings!) spreading madly. NO TIME NO TIME. I have sat staunchly at my lovely new iMac for about 2 weeks now producing key plans, setting out drawings (curvaceous HELL), cascade drawings, a specification document. Amidst all the fiddling with found errors and fixing found problems.

I resolve to find some work in the coming months to make me practice practice practice all the technical sides, something possibly uncreative but where I can hone my skills, my experience so that this all becomes second nature and not a dive for folders and files from college lectures.

I am pleased with some of the results although tbh atm I have no idea what the whole will look like as Friday is the day for printing it all out and collating. (Thus leaving myself 5 WHOLE days for exhibition prep).

Planning permission, finalising letters, finishing mood boards, finishing planting plans - doing the drainage (does a chalk slope really NEED drainage I keep asking!?), title blocking it all and making sure the cross referencing matches up. As I found out in my first design career the job is much more about execution than creativity...and I used to think I was good at execution, not so certain now, but more practice will help that I am sure.

Last night as I was put the finishing touches to a construction drawing (above) and in true multitasking form chatted to my great friend Ju in New Zealand (it was 1am)I realised I was quite pleased with the result.... I might even say it looks quite professional!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

How many blog posts does it take before you actually invest time in reading a whole blog?

Long title I know but today as I surfed through some of the many blog posts I am RSS fed daily I realised that I don't automatically read a whole blog. No one has that much life to read every blog that is going!

For me it is about 3 or 4 interesting postings that then trigger a desire to read much more of a blog. Let me say I am not talking about much of the verbal diarrhea out there but the postings that equate to real, valuable content. Stuff that you have to set time aside to digest and comprehend, that enriches your life.

Don't get me wrong I am not some highbrow bloggerati type, I read plenty of drivel postings willingly, keep up with friends chatter and some of the more bizarre blogs but on the whole I skim read it, speed read it or 'glance the title' read it.

Some bloggers though just warrant stopping and reading and as it usually takes me several excellent postings to take the plunge and invest my time in an extended 'good blog' read. That said it takes much less to turn me off a blog something like spam posting the same blog post all over the net! nasty.

Like most folks I want one point of access to minimise re-reading the same thing multiple times. Perhaps that's a self prompt to review how much social networking I am doing, along with a spot of compartmentalising.

What inspired this post? This blog, which IMHO is well worth the read.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Writers block.... AGAIN

sorry no posts I have an aversion to blogging atm.

can't seem to say anything worth writing about :)

will be back at some point
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