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Anita Bowerman begins year-long artist-in-residence at RHS Harlow Carr

PUBLISHED: 00:00 24 October 2018

Anita Bowerman is artist in residence at RHS Harlow Carr

Anita Bowerman is artist in residence at RHS Harlow Carr


Beautiful gardens are both captured on canvas and saved by campaigners

The first in a series of watercolour paintings featuring best-loved scenes of RHS Garden Harlow Carr in Harrogate has been unveiled. The rare Maytenus boaria tree – a landmark feature of the garden’s 375ft-long main borders – is the subject of the first of 12 garden scenes which will be re-created by the garden’s new year-long artist-in-residence, Anita Bowerman, from now until September 2019.

Anita is painting well-known garden vistas – from the famous Winter Walk to the vibrant spring colour and beauty of the Streamside – using her signature technique of painting with natural items she finds on the ground – from fallen twigs and leaves to moss, grass, feathers and stones.

‘I’ve always been fascinated with nature, wildlife and the outdoors so it seemed perfectly logical for me to make the most of Mother Nature’s bounty to re-create scenes from nature itself,’ said Anita. ‘The garden offers such a beautiful and inspiring backdrop and I’m looking forward to capturing its iconic scenes which people will instantly recognise as Harlow Carr.’

Anita prefers to paint each garden scene in situ rather than relying on a photograph or sketch. She uses a horizontal canvas rather than a traditional upright easel and works predominantly in watercolour and acrylic.

South Cliff Gardens in Scarborough date back to the 19th century Photo: David Chalmers PhotographySouth Cliff Gardens in Scarborough date back to the 19th century Photo: David Chalmers Photography

‘You’ll find me in the garden in all weathers; I think the odd drop of rain or wind-blown blossom really adds to the authenticity of my paintings,’ said Anita. ‘I try to incorporate whatever nature throws at me into the scenes as well as making Impressionistic-style marks using my natural painting tools. For me, it’s the best way to capture the atmosphere, light and true essence of the subject.’

Each original painting will be available to view in RHS Garden Harlow Carr’s entrance conservatory during the month it represents, with prints available to view and buy from Anita’s Victorian art studio in Harrogate or via her website The full collection will go on display for the first time at Harlow Carr’s annual flower show from June 21st-23rd next year.

Leeds-born Anita has been an artist for more than 20 years and formerly worked as a buyer at Liberty London, as well as at Burberry and House of Fraser. She paints around the picturesque Yorkshire countryside and displays her work in The Dove Tree Art Studio, Harrogate. Anita was the first official artist of the Tour de Yorkshire in 2015.

A bid for £5million lottery money has been made by Scarborough Borough Council to pay for the ambitious renovation of the town’s South Cliff Gardens. The design and creation of the gardens began in 1889 and took more than 40

South Cliff Gardens face serious decline Photo: David Chalmers PhotographySouth Cliff Gardens face serious decline Photo: David Chalmers Photography

years to complete. Among the outstanding features are the Italian Gardens with their formal terraces, shelters and lily pond.

Vicky Thompson, Scarborough Borough Council’s South Cliff Heritage Lottery Fund Project Officer, said: ‘This Heritage Lottery Funded project will focus on saving the unique heritage, re-evaluating what it means to modern communities and reconnecting people with the gardens to help provide the benefits envisaged by the gardens’ founders. This project provides the opportunity to restore and complement this historic infrastructure as well as improve habitat management, develop community involvement and improve facilities to make it cutting edge once again.’

Once at the heart of Scarborough’s seaside resort, South Cliff Gardens were the place to go to improve your health and wellbeing, come together to socialise and explore and enjoy the extensive and stunning sea views. The gardens include 14 timber and concrete shelters, perhaps the largest number of historic shelters in any public garden in the country, and feature 19th century Egyptian gates, Italian steps designed by Joseph Paxton, iconic Italian gardens, the first funicular railway in the country, Holbeck Clock Tower, the world’s first chalets, a rose garden and the much loved Clock Café.

The gardens face serious decline with an ever increasing threat to its historic features and sections of the garden could be closed because they are falling into a dangerous condition.

In March 2017 the Heritage Lottery Fund gave Scarborough Borough Council and the local community, including Friends of South Cliff Gardens which launched a campaign to save the gardens, a grant to develop a detailed design to renovate and breathe new life into the South Cliff Gardens. This design, once finalised was successfully submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund in their second round of applications at the end of August this year. Scarborough will learn if they have won their bid for money to save the gardens in December.

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