Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Spring Flowers

The painting above is of spring flowers and is sold. I don’t usually paint flowers as a subject. I was asked to do these for a window display and I was happy to oblige.

I am not a great lover of flowers as I may have said before. I will include them as incidental to my painting but not normally the main subject. I believe you need an affinity and depth of knowledge of your subject to paint it successfully.

My father however was very keen on flowers and built his own greenhouse. This had a stone base with cedar shell. There was nothing remarkable in that. However he grew orchids in a manner that at the time was quite revolutionary. He was a pioneer of hydroponics.

This meant all his plants were grown in a solution not soil or compost. This was in the 1960’s and 70’s. (Today hydroponics is used to cultivate cannabis by ne’er-do-wells). My father used to lecture on hydroponics and visited Lord Seiff of Brimpton (chairman of Marks and Spencers) on several occasions to advise on his Orchid collection. My father was a chemist, and radio engineer by trade so using chemicals to grow plants was second nature to him. This in itself however was of no great interest to me at the time.
What I found fascinating was his automated greenhouse. We could go away and the greenhouse would look after itself without the aid of any electrical timers.

As I recall it started with a large water tank, which dripped at a certain rate into the first trough. When the water reached a certain level it emptied in to the next trough through a siphon. As the next trough filled, a float attached to a mercury switch would rise connect the switch then start a pump which would pump water to the highest trough on the other side etc. etc.

It was all very Heath Robinson a bit like watching Wallace and Gromit today.

Talking of which we had two of the grandchildren today, and Alex has been a bit under the weather so not much done today.


1 comment:

  1. Everyone loves to receive flowers. Give loved ones the gift that will last forever and not wilt away in a matter of weeks.