I didn’t know that a cottage garden is a defined thing until I was at Brodie, where an old stone wall is the backdrop for one. Its wildness is just on the right edge of crazy. I was immediately hypnotized by it. As always when I learn something new, I dig a little deeper, and I collected a bunch of the dual descriptions I read about cottage gardens because they’re always described with two:
This is my first painting in Scotland. The tree is enormous, which I showed by including the little bench in front of it and a small portion of the castle. At first, I thought it was a clump of trees, but when I walked around it, I saw a well-worn entrance through its long, shaggy branches. That’s when I saw it is one massive tree whose branches hang down like thick tentacles creating a tall and wide canopy cooler than any treehouse I’ve been in. (As I entered I said hello to a local couple, and—upon hearing my foreign accent?—they told me to look out for changelings.)
At the end of my trip I was thrilled to finally run into the gardeners (Yvonne and Christopher pictured) at Brodie, and they told me that the tree is a yew and it predates the castle. That’s more than 600 years old! Yews are known for their longevity because those hanging branches can reroot and form new trunks. AAAAND, I learned that Scotland’s--and perhaps Europe’s--oldest tree is a yew estimated to be 2,000-5,000 years old. Isn’t old stuff great?
Now, why is this painting magenta? It is a value study using only white, cadmium red, and quinacridone magenta
It took about three weeks for my self-addressed postcard to get to Chicago from Brodie. And the timing was perfect. I've been simmering in all things Scotch since my return, trying to keep that happy Highland flame flickering in my heart, and when I sat down to work on yesterday's blog post, my husband came in with the mail:
These handmade postcards were our first art activity on the retreat. It was good to dive in, and it kept us awake to deal with jet lag.
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