Capturing the Essence of a Moment in Time

A garden visitor once said to me that the flower beds at Saffrons reminded her of the John Singer Sargent painting, “Carnation, Lily, Lily Rose”.

The painting is of two little girls dressed in white, lighting Chinese lanterns in a magical garden as night falls around them.

Tall white lilies seem to swirl above their heads, while a profusion of pink roses and and dark carnations, surround their shoulders and feet.

“a moment lost in time”

As a painting it is a study of the balance of light and darkness and a pitch perfect evocation of atmosphere.

To me it is beautiful, evocative and poignant all at once, a moment lost in time, but lingering in the memory.  It is an image that has always resonated powerfully with me and I can’t really explain why.

That feeling is, I suppose, what I am hoping to capture in some of my flower bed compositions, so I was astonished and immensely pleased that one of our visitors had felt much the same and so precisely!

It is these rare connections with garden visitors that keeps me wanting to strive for that moment and open the garden to view.  And that keeps me busy throughout the winter months researching and editing.

The Plants I used to get the effect:

Oriental Trumpet Lily “LaVerne Freeman”/ “Miss Feya” (red)
Oriental Trumpet Lily “Leslie Woodriff” (red/ white)
Gladiolus papilio “Ruby”
Salvia microphylla “Wendy’s Surprise” (red)
Salvia greggii “Sparkler”/ “Desert Blaze”(red flr, variegated leaf)
Salvia greggii “Stormy Pink”
Thalictrum delavayi album
Clematis vitacella “Kathryn Chapman”

In the bed behind:
Stipa gigantea
Salvia darcyi (tall coral)
Aster frikartii “Jungfrau”
Kniphofia thomsonii var. thomsonii
Lavendula x intermedia “Sussex”
Hemerocallis “Copperhead”

Essentially, the lilies, the thalictrums and the salvias are what make it, I think…

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Elisabeth Harden

    We’ll done Bernardean. He’s my favourite painter
    Your photos are excellent as is the planting
    Love Elisabeth

  2. John Glovee

    That painting is one I almost always went to see when visiting The Tate. Its one of the images always in the back of my mind when I say I need early morning or late evening light to bring a garden photo to life. So its no wonder that Saffrons is still one of my favourite gardens to photograph.

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