Green thumb

The hot weather is boosting plant growth on my balcony, where I’m keeping a cucumber plant and a larger flower pot with a (now flowerless, but otherwise adorned with small light blue flowers) Asteria, parsley, wild flowers, and an enthusiastic ginger shoot:

I managed to grow a ginger plant on my balcony in Trentino, thanks to the good exposure to the south that gave it plenty of sunshine. Here I was initially skeptical, but despite not getting that much light, the shoot has grown a lot in a few days and has opened two new leaves. Let’s hope it keeps growing!

The two cucumber plants were a bet as well, first because I knew they would need to grow a lot in height, and I solved this by letting them grasp the sides of the window frames and pruning the tops; they are otherwise green and flowery, and have already provided one tasty fruit! A few more are in preparation, I hope to harvest them soon 🙂

My house is otherwise not so plant-friendly due to the minimal amount of sunlight, but these plants do thrive. I hope it encourages you to try gardening on your windowsill: no matter how small your garden is, it motivates you to spot all little improvements, the tiniest new sprout or leaf, and will reward your constant attention with pretty leaves and flowers!





Trip to Amsterdam

Last weekend we have been visiting a friend in Amsterdam. It was my first visit to the city and in fact to the Netherlands, and it was a pleasant and interesting stay.


I’ve been surprised by how many buildings in the city centre lost their alignment, due to the instability of the soil underneath. I find amazing how the houses stay habitable and still look pretty and well-kept.

The weather was hot and dry, as in many places in Europe and around the world, and the vegetation was suffering a lot. The contrast with the greenhouses and gardens of the Hortus Botanicus was striking.

I even found time to sketch a bit, and chose three different windows from the houses around the square where we were stopping for a drink.


I’d like to come back to visit more landmarks and get a better picture of everyday life. If any of you have been to Amsterdam and surroundings and wish to share impressions and tips, I’d be very grateful!

Negative spaces: first exercise

A clever way of drawing complex objects in good proportion is to focus on the empty spaces left. Betty Edwards explained this technique in her book “Drawing on the right side of the brain” (see this post with an application of the idea). I have applied negative contour drawing to this potted plant with a lot of leaves:

Negative spaces exercise: plant
Negative spaces exercise: plant

Drawing such a subject requires some patience, but it is very rewarding to see the full shape of the plant emerge from the apparently meaningless pattern of small white background spots.