Perennial Plants · Plant Choices

Thrift – Gaynor Dickeson

As you know, the correctly written scientific name for Thrift is Armeria maritima. It is always written in italics with the first part of the binomial name written with a capital letter – not the second.

Amongst all the other preparations for the Botanical Art Worldwide – In Ruskin’s Footsteps exhibition in May 2018, I thought I would try to paint my own submission. Don’t worry, as all the submissions will be sent in digitally; we intend to remove the signatures from the images for the first digital judging process, so there is no risk that my work (or any of the others who are in the steering group) will be selected for anything other than merit.

My chosen subject is Armeria maritima, because no-one else wanted to do it! I wonder why that is? In actual fact I am doing the same subject for somewhere else and as the majority of work lies in the preparation, I thought I would kill two birds with one stone. The pictures will be totally different as I am doing them in different materials. How far I get with this one is dependent upon William Cowley’s as they are stretching a piece of vellum for me.

I have been doing some long hikes once a week and this gets me out and about as the native flora has been emerging from its winter hibernation.

Thrift bud

This year has been an amazing experience and my camera is full of fantastic plant pictures. No room for people I’m afraid! I have chosen just a few of the Thrift.

It has been incredible seeing their tiny buds peaking up over what seemed a tuft of grass, and then developing into these beautiful  tightly packed pink flower heads. Each is an inflorescence – simply put, a flower head composed of several separate flowers; each with a complete reproductive system. They are from the Plumbaginaceae family.

Thrift on the beach opposite the Needles.

Guess where this picture is taken? You can see a well known piece of coastline in the distance. Hint, I’m on the south coast.








Now some detailed pictures from dismantling one of the flower heads. I waited until it was nearly spent so that I wouldn’t kill off a viable and valuable flower.

My pot of Thrift
Flower head centre showing construction









Getting deeper into the flower parts:

Section containing fertilise flower, developing flower and new flower bud.
The hairiness of each part.
Inside the spent flower.


Deeper inside the spent flower – the fertilised seed.



















The remainder of the pictures are from my sketch book. Hopefully they will speak for themselves. I still have work to do on the composition and hopefully I will be able to do a blog on that and the painting itself at a later stage.







Before I finish, for those of you who are working toward picture submissions for the same exhibition, I wish you good luck and look forward to seeing the final results. For those who haven’t made up their minds yet, please do think of a plant to paint that fulfils the criteria for the exhibition.There are literally thousands still to do! It is an exciting process.


© Gaynor Dickeson


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