Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Gardens of Sheffield: This city is growing on me but not in the Miracle-Gro sort of way!

The rugged beauty of a Sheffield garden- concrete and roses!
Considering that I am such a chatty and effervescent person people are often surprised that really I am quite shy and often get tongue tied. I've been wanting to write this blog post for ages but what on earth has held me back?

I moved 75 miles north from The Midlands to Sheffield at the beginning of October 2014 and although it was a well researched move it was also a move of faith i.e. faith that Sheffield was the right place to be.

Although originally from central Scotland I have lived in the Midlands for most of my life so uprooting and moving to Yorkshire after many years was a BIG thing and not something to be taken lightly. But It seems that my research paid off. 

I moved to Sheffield because (in no particular order)  I love the hills, it has amazing countryside so close-by - I live just a few minutes walk to open fields and and only a 10 minute drive to the Peak District proper, it is full of artists, it is often referred to as the biggest village in the UK and actually this works for me as although I like being within a short train journey to London I also like to be able to integrate into an art network fairly quickly. I am constantly amazed that although I feel that I have only been here for just  ‘5 minutes’ I keep bumping into people that I know... or at least I know a bit! 

And also a big thing which I didn’t know before but now believe to be true is that the Sheffield art world isn’t a snobby and hierarchical one. Basically as Lord Bunn (his title does nothing!) said, there is no hierarchy in this South Yorkshire city and if anyone tried to pull 'artworld rank' then they would very quickly be put in their place, plus be instantly laughed a too. I love this! 

We are all artists at at various levels of achievement and experience and are all aiming for a (moveable) point on our own future horizon. Perfect... we are all just people doing our own creative thing and also hopefully scratching each others backs and generally being encouraging and supportive of each other in our day to day lives of 'getting there'.

So what is this blog post all about?
Really the biggest and most burning thing that I want to share with you is GARDENS OF SHEFFIELD.

To be fair we were looking at houses from Easter to July (the sunnyish time of the Great British year) but when we moved up to Sheffield it was the beginning of October and the beginning of the dark damp winter months; certainly not the time of year to admire gardens. 
So these photos are my own newcomer’s shock-horror reaction to GARDENS OF SHEFFIELD.

This is a picture dairy and one that to be honest has actually occupied a LOT of my creative brain since moving here. It is exciting to be some place new and to be regularly tipped up by visual surprises. I am delighting in all this and am enjoying the regional differences to be found even in a country as small at this. 

When house hunting how different a house and its garden can look in real life. Images on can be helpful but something that looks like photoshopped super-real grass on a photo is ... yes very likely to be fake grass when you get to view it in real life. And also a garden that is described as ‘easily maintained’ can actually turn out to be shed/garden or a completely decked garden. 

It became a bit of a thing with me when house hunting; I mean I had always assumed that gardens had grass and some plants but how wrong I was proven to be.

 The garden of one of the houses that we viewed when moving. The husband had decked it and installed a shed (with curtains and wi-fi) in just one weekend when his wife was away. She didn't seem to mind at all! 
A peculiarly Sheffield type of garden! 
I call this hardcore easy maintenance; slabs 'n' concrete with a token gesture of thorny shrubs. 
Another interesting peculiarity to Sheffield terrace houses is that (almost) no one uses their front door. You quickly learn to read the signs (some not so subtle) as to whether you should attempt to knock on what appears to be the front door or to find your way through a gennel and across some neighbours’ gardens to the back door.

Don't enter by this door or the (plastic) bush gets you! 
It's complicated ... but there is an easier way in.... by the back door.
Landscaping; it's a lot harder than it looks 
I love the optimism of palm trees in South Yorkshire.
Always good to try and brighten things up in the dark winter months.
These plastic daliahs always make me giggle.
Being amazed and delighted by yet another spectacular sunrise-  something I hadn't anticipated. 
Sheffield never a dull moment and absolutely the right place for someone with an adventurous nature... that’s me!