Between the Flowers
Oil on Board, 30 x 30 cms, 12 x 12 inches
“Between the Flowers” is part of the “Florasphere” series and shows a blue tit amongst the lilies; this is a comment about horticulture and how this can endanger the local ecosystem. Lilies are notorious for their pollen being poisonous to both animals and birds. It is mainly pets that are the known casualty, but what effect do they have on the indigenous wildlife? This painting is a metaphor for many of the other harmful practices that gardening brings; gardeners are all too eager to spray and kill their weeds and mow lawns. These weeds are a vital food source in Spring to the pollinators and both the weeds and pollinators support the ecosystem around them.
Roses are sprayed to remove green or blackfly, but the most effective way of reducing these unwanted bugs in the garden is a healthy ecosystem. By spraying the roses, it means that the birds that normally eat the greenfly are in danger of being poisoned themselves. Instead, try to encourage the small insects, however much a pest, and in time their predators will come in abundance and keep the population down. This painting is a reminder that gardeners need to grow plants and create areas that enhance the local ecosystem and therefore the local wildlife, which will ultimately benefit the gardener and lead to a healthier and more successful garden.
I have painted “Between the Flowers” in oil paint and deliberately chose to camouflage the lilies in blue and green so they become subtle and unnoticed. The stamens have been painted in red/pink, so they are deliberately vivid and stand out. This is referring both to the danger element of the colour red, which is frequently used in nature, and because the stamens are the part that produces the pollen that is dangerous to many animals. The blue tit was inspired by my photography, as I am constantly capturing these cheeky birds as they visit our countryside garden surrounded in West Sussex. I never spray the green or black fly, but instead watch the birds greedily feed upon them each Spring and Summer.