I was in London recently to view an exhibition of paintings by Eileen Agar at the Whitechapel Gallery. The exhibition is fantastic she has an amazing sense of colour and her work is a sort of mixture of Henry Moore and Picasso combined. Eileen Agar was an extremely talented artist she was friends with Picasso and Braque but because she was a woman her work was completely overlooked. I would highly recommend visiting the exhibition which runs until 29th August 2021.

Lewis Caroll with Alice by Eileen Agar 1961.

I had lunch with a girlfriend in the Whitechapel Gallery’s up market restaurant, Townsend. The food was excellent, but I found myself eating a salad that was full of delicious weeds some of which I had pulled up only the day before in my garden! Shame on me I thought. Since that fabulous salad, I have been inspecting the hedgerows for edible weeds. You can buy books on edible weeds to guide you and it’s such fun, because it adds another element to a walk.

Last week was National Hedgerow week. Visit: https://www.hedgelink.org.uk

Although hedges have played a lesser role than woodlands in the debate about how to attain carbon zero. They are just as important. Hedgerow Week emphasizes their role in fostering biodiversity, capturing carbon and countering flooding. A single hedge can harbour over 2,000 species, no woodland can match that. The committee on climate change urges that about 200,000km of new hedges must be planted across the UK if the 2050 net zero target for carbon to be met. A hawthorn hedge can capture 7.95 tonnes of carbon per kilometer.

As gardeners we have a role. Few of us can plant a wood but many of us can plant a hedge. I wonder if this is something being discussed at the G7 summit in Cornwall. What could be more important than hedges? I hope Boris mentions to Biden that there are not nearly enough hedges in America!


Landscape with Hawthorn hedge in bloom by David Hockney.

I am excited that there are so many wonderful exhibitions on in London at the moment. To name but a few: Eileen Agar at Whitechapel Gallery, David Hockney at the Royal Academy, Michael Armitage at the Royal Academy, Sheila Hickes at Alison Jacques Gallery, Frank Bowling at Hauser and Wirth Gallery. I think lockdown has brought out the best shows in London. I don’t remember a time when there have been so many good exhibitions on at the same time. I am also looking forward to seeing the London Art Biennale 1st to 4th July at the Chelsea Town Hall.


Reflecting Pool by Oenone Hammersley. Chosen by London Art Biennale to exhibit online.