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The House in the Garden
Barty Phillips

Suffering from horticultural withdrawal symptoms brought on by wintery days? Barty Phillips suggests ways of introducing garden images into your home…

November mornings are dark and dank outside and evenings are dismal. Few of us are able or even want to spend much time in the garden, which is soggy underfoot anyway. If you’re anything like me, now is the time when you get withdrawal symptoms and long for some images or reminders of the garden to enjoy indoors. This year’s up-to-the-minute home style is based on the plain and simple. Textiles are in natural fibres and plain colours, anything from heavy linens and cottons to will-o’-the-wisp muslins and stiff, sheer, silk organzas. Smart tableware is all in white. How can garden images fit in with this trend?

The subtle approach There are two ways you can co-ordinate plant images with a minimal interior. You can choose the subtle approach. Shops are full of hand-painted china with sketchy images of perhaps a single leaf that looks as though a puff of wind would blow it away or a simple flower looking as though painted in watercolours. These are images to blend in unaggressively. You’ll probably never get tired of them. Rather than build up a complete set, however, they might be more interesting and more truly garden-like if you mix and match the images. Maple leaves are popular, there are small, floating leaves (perhaps willow?), bamboo designs and the ever-popular poppy and marigolds – there’s definitely a leaning towards wild flowers or traditional cottage garden plants.

A celebration of the bountiful If all this is a bit neat and well-mannered for you, you can go for the rumbustious approach and choose really colourful fruit and floral images that will stand out positively against the plain colours of your curtains and walls. There are plenty of jug and bowl sets, a sort of play on the traditional washbowl and jug. These are useful for celebratory entertaining, since they hold a lot of food or drink. Fruit is a favourite image for these: pears, plums, grapes, apples, cherries found in fruity colours depicted large and bold. Many are hand-painted and will look good against almost any plain colour, from cotinus purple to glaucus green, or even white. For something really exclusive, Dartington Pottery (whose high-fired tableware is already in the permanent collection in the V&A in London) has a range that includes painterly images of fruit, trees and flowers.

Ceramic tiles traditionally celebrate the gorgeousness of the natural world and their highly glazed finish adds an even more exotic quality. And, incidentally, if you’ve had enough of plain good-taste fabrics, Fired Earth has some splendid embroidered crewelwork fabrics from Kashmir and a range of colourful printed cottons including ‘Summertime Rose’ (rose hips) and ‘Summertime Plum’ each 136cm wide with a repeat of 68cm…

 

Articles reprinted with permission from Greenfingers.com



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