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Can a sense of belonging save the world?

Can a sense of belonging make us more ecological

A couple of weeks ago I was down in London to see my eldest daughter perform in a piece of experimental theatre. It was the end of the heatwave, the point just before the heavy rains, and the city was completely parched.
In the parks the tall plane trees were shedding their leaves, it looked like October rather than August. Sitting outside a cafe with a cup of coffee, I watched the leaves whirl down to cover the dust where the grass used to be, thin squirrels pawing through them.

I am sure that the big trees will be fine, their roots reaching down - the drought becoming a memory, a thinner ring at their core.

But elsewhere smaller trees were leafless, fruitless, withered, often dead - some had dropped branches in an attempt to survive.

Planters of shrivelled box balls lined the pavements outside restaurants and office buildings. The contracted care was falling far short and they were being left to suffer and die.

But then, every now and again, we would pass a planter or a patch of earth still green, still blooming - verdant against the hard, hot pavements.

One evening, walking from Kings Cross to Euston, we met a man who was watering the plants outside his block of flats with grey water in a large fizzy drink bottle. Two more bottles were in a tote bag by his feet.

The planter he was watering was thriving - bright flowers and trailing green - saved by someone who was happy to spend a little bit of time caring for them.

And alongside the actual flowers he was saving the insects and the birds that depend on them too.

I had been appalled by the state of the parks and this man, with his bottles of grey water, cheered me up.

For I saw that if tiny parts of the city could be kept green through the actions of a few people - then we do have hope for the rest, we just need to let people care.

It isn’t about spending money or increasing watering contracts, for those concepts obviously fall down in a crisis. It is about personal connection.

It is about feeling comfortable with stepping in. It is about belonging, being invested, feeling at home.

This isn’t of course just about the plants in Central London, it is about the natural world wherever we live. While the shrivelled plants in London were very obvious, there are other risks to the natural world around us that are less so.

We only notice them when we pay attention.

When people feel connected to the natural world where they live, they see it as an extension of themselves, they pay more attention, they see its needs. If people feel empowered to act, if they have the knowledge, the personal investment, the impetus . . . . well that is when we see change and care.

Repairing and replenishing our personal connection to the natural world is at the centre of this, it is where we start - using our heads, hearts and hands together to learn, feel and act

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It’s the private view of the exhibition From the Land @fodderandfarm tonight and the exhibition runs until 17th (open 12-5 each day). 
It’s part of @forthvalleyartbeat trail of Open Studios. 

I have some work in the exhibition- showing alongside @allthatisbraw, @kevinharri and @katgoldin and the whole show has been curated by Kevin. 

In today’s film I’m talking about the build up to the week and all the doubts that came up in my mind. 

Was the work I was showing good enough? Was I good enough? Am I even an artist. 

The link is in my profile - 
I’d love to know if it resonates with anyone. 

#scottishartist #selftaughtartist #forthvalleyartbeat
I don't think that I have ever seen the hawthorn looking as amazing as it does this year - great white billowing mounds, right along the valley. 
I have had some leaves and twigs, pruned from a hedge, in the dye pot this week - such gorgeous colours.
I will put up a reel later showing the five colours of wool that came out of the pot.
This should be titled
I've been making some very short films - a way of getting my 10,000 hours in, of getting used to filming through the day.
I put these buttercups in a jar for one of them - for these are my favourite flowers of late Spring/early Summer.  I'm arranging some flowers for an event next week and am crossing my fingers that the buttercups are still in bloom.
The hedges - planted twenty years ago to shelter us from the winds that funnel up through the valley and down across the fields - are in many ways the best thing in the garden.
Thick and home to countless birds, at this time of year they vibrate with song and rustling, edges fringed in bright, light spring green.
This week I have been resting a lot to try and get rid of the shingles that developed as I headed north for my birthday weekend. 
So this week’s Friday film I’m talking about the frustration of not being to do as much of things as I would like to - especially at a time of year when there is SO MUCH TO DO! 
You get to see all the sad seedlings waiting to go into the garden and an insight into what I do when my energy and to do list don’t match up.

#chronicfatigue #addisonsdisease #scottishartist #chronicillness
This month’s workshop in The Studio Club is about printing with plants - it’s a chance to learn an ancient technique, slightly adapted so we don’t set fire to ourselves. 

There is still time to join us - the link is in my profile - and all May Studio Clubbers get the course to keep. 

I’ve added in a reel showing making this in slightly speeded up time! 

#printingwithplants #thestudioclub  #snapdragonlife #createsomethingeveryday
Sweet rocket at dusk, surrounded by moths and perfuming the paths.  A plant I wouldn't be without. 
Here is my annual reminder that it is time to sow biennials. It is so easy to forget in the bustle and busyness of - all those plants that fill out the late May and June garden need to be sown now to flower next year.
For some - especially if you run a relaxed garden - this is a case of making sure that they self sow, or sprinkling some seed in a suitable place.  Others need a little more cosseting.
If you are a Studio Clubber there is a download of my favourite plants and top tips for growing them in the Studio Club Library.

About Snapdragon Life

At Snapdragon Life I help bring the changing seasons into your daily life, helping you slow down, so that you can experience increased well being, calm and creativity.

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