It’s pretty ironic that I’ve chosen to write a post about National Gardening Week (29th April – 5th May) given the fact that 75% of our back garden is made up of astroturf. I’d say our wooden decking takes up an additional 20% meaning leaving just 5% for actual plant life. I have, at time of writing this post got 2 plant pots filled with lilies, a large pot of herbs containing rosemary and thyme and a lovely pot of something else that I don’t know the name of, but in the summer it sprouts lovely pink feather-like flowers from leaves that resemble bay leaves. If anyone reading this recognises what I’m describing then please do get in touch, I’d love to know the name of the plant I’ve managed to keep alive these last 2 years.

Despite my extreme lack of gardening knowledge that’s not to say I don’t LOVE what National Gardening week is all about. Scrolling through Instagram and seeing gorgeous pictures of vegetable patches and stunning flower arrangements I can’t help but feel super inspired (and a teeny bit jealous) to start working on and improving our own garden. You can read more about National Gardening Week, its aims and and what you can do to take part here

As well as encouraging people to grow their own vegetables and herbs the purpose of National Gardening Week is to raise awareness of the benefits gardens and gardening has on people’s lives, particularly their mental health. We all know that exercise is a popular remedy to help combat depression, it improves your physical health thus improving your mental health. Gardening is a physical activity and so can be an alternative (and more pleasant?!) substitute to going to the gym. Having a focus as well can also help mitigate depression and anxiety. Fresh air, sunlight and being in green spaces also helps increase the production of vitamin D in your body which is known to help with low mood levels.

For me, where most of my waking moment is spent looking at a computer/phone screen then the idea of walking through garden allotments, herb gardens, botanic gardens (or even my mum and dad’s own back garden!) is extremely appealing, especially seeing as I genuinely do love and appreciate all things plant-life.

When I’m not looking at a computer screen you will find probably me drawing, most likely animals – but as I’ve already said I do love studying plants, flowers, herbs and cacti and so naturally, I enjoy drawing them. You’ll see that my Spring Summer 2019 Thistles and Butterflies collection focusses less on animals and more on plants – you can check out that collection here but I’ve included some pics of this collection below as well as my loose drawings and paintings of wild plants, herbs and cacti. I’ve also included some of my own snaps of favourite botanical finds and you’ll see in some of those pics how they have inspired me to create several botanical sketches and designs. The photos have been taken at a variety of places including The Secret Herb Garden located just outside Edinburgh, Isle of Skye and The Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh. The fact I that I love to draw wild flowers, plants and cacti is probably why I enjoy spending time green spaces so much, I definitely don’t do it often enough.

Herbs and Daffodils drawing by Cherith Harrison

Watercolour sketch of rosemary and thyme herbs in our back garden as well as a daffodil design using good old Crayola supertip pens!

Urban gardens and botanical illustration by Cherith Harrison

colourful Garden allotments inspiration to design by Cherith Harrison

Above you can see an image of wild foliage which inspired me to create a small black and white sketch which became the style for my spring / summer 2019 collection. The product in the image is my Thistles and Butterflies Writing Set

Wild heather illustration in Isle of Skye

Wild heather illustration in Isle of Skye

Pencil studies of wild heather on the Isle of Skye

Cactus studies and drawings by Cherith Harrison Cactus studies and drawings by Cherith Harrison

Like I’ve said, National Gardening Week has definitely inspired me to make our own garden a greener and lusher place and as I start introducing more plants and flowers into my designs it makes sense that I immerse myself into all things gardening!

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