False perspective in the garden cartoon – after M C Escher

Escher false perspective in the garden cartoon

Gardening cartoon and self-sufficient power generation cartoon

Cartoon about sustainable power generation, featuring an Escher type use of false perspective to make water flow up hill in a garden pond or ‘water feature’.

Cartoon of a woman mowing a lawn with an electric lawn mower powered by a generator harnessing the power of flowing water in her garden pond.
She is saying “It’s amazing how much electricity you can generate with a small generator and a little bit of false perspective”

This is a recently redrawn version of a cartoon that I first drew about thirty years ago in the 1980s. It’s one of a series of cartoons that I drew at the time about sustainable technology – mostly employing absurdist ideas such as the impossible structure here that allows water to flow uphill (borrowed from the work of M C Escher). Other ideas in the series included perpetual motion machines and Heath Robinson devices.
A cartoon about sustainable energy, lawnmowers, garden ponds, garden water features, environmental gardening.

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Small garden cartoon

door mat sized lawn cartoon

Gardening cartoon

Cartoon of a gardener at her front door with a watering can.
The house fronts straight onto the street, with no front garden.
The gardener is waiting what looks like a door mat

She is saying “It’s not a door mat – it’s my lawn”

This is a cartoon about garden lawns, gardening in small gardens

Ref: a262

Gardening cartoons – dandelion clock

Gardening cartoon - child blowing a dandelion clock

Gardening cartoon

Cartoon of a gardener and his son it the garden.
The child is blowing dandelion seeds from a dandelion clock

The gardener is encouraging his son to go and blow the seeds over his neighbour’s garden instead of his garden

This is a cartoon about garden weeds, controlling weeds,seed propagation, wind-borne seed, childhood games,

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Drooping crocuses cartoon

crocus wilt - flower gardening cartoon

Spring gardening cartoon
Flower gardening cartoon, featuring drooping crocuses

Cartoon of a gardener looking at some crocuses in his lawn.
The crocuses are flopping over or keeling over and wilting after a very short period of flowering.
The gardener is complaining that no sooner do crocuses come into flower than they then wilt and die.

His wife is saying “Never mind dear, the daffodils will be along soon.”
The wisdom of planting flowers for successive flowering

This is a cartoon about optimism and pessimism, glass half full, glass half empty, looking on the bright side, plants flowering in succession. It’s also about life moving on, change.

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Garden vegetable glut – gardening and cookery cartoon

Courgette glut  - gardening and cookery cartoon

Vegetable gardening cartoon
Cookery cartoon

Cartoon of a gardener harvesting courgettes from his garden and bringing them into the kitchen

In the kitchen the gardener’s wife is looking at recipes for courgettes and is saying “It’s amazing how many recipes you can find with courgettes in them when you have to”

This is a joke about the problem of gluts of seasonal vegetables and fruit.
Home grown courgettes are a particularly good example of glut-prone vegetables

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Christmas cartoon – reindeer eating garden vegetables

Christmas cartoons - reindeer eating garden vegetables

A Christmas gardening cartoon from my selection of Christmas cartoons

A man looking out of his window on Christmas morning to see a reindeer eating his garden vegetables

Cartoon of a gardener seeing Santa’s reindeer eating his brussels sprouts

A cartoon about Santa Claus’s reindeer, Father Christmas delivering Christmas presents.
Part of the joke is that although Santa’s reindeer is on an extraordinary mission (delivering Christmas presents around the world) it is engaged in a mundane activity. It is the mundane activity that the man notices, rather than the extraordinary occurrence of Santa’s reindeer in his garden. He is obviously more concerned about his garden vegetables than he is interested in the magic of Christmas

Ref: a270

Unwanted Christmas gifts find a use – cartoon

Christmas gloves gift cartoon

Christmas gardening cartoon.
Winter gardening cartoon

A man finding an alternative use for unwanted Christmas gifts

Cartoon of a gardener using all of the gloves that he received as Christmas presents as frost protectors for the plants in his garden.
The plants are just the right size and shape to fit the gloves, which is part of the joke

A cartoon about gloves as Christmas presents, unwanted Christmas gifts, winter gardening, frost protection, fleece, insulation

Ref: a269

Christmas gardening cartoon

Christmas gardening book cartoon

Christmas gardening book cartoon

A man opening his Christmas present from his wife
The Christmas present is a book called ‘The Home Decorator’s Year’

He is thinking ‘I’m sure I asked for “The Gardener’s Year”‘
The man’s wife thinks that he should spend more time decorating the house than outside in the garden.
To her gardening is a hobby, while decorating the house is a chore that she equates with housework (which her husband doesn’t do)

A cartoon about gender roles, household chores, Christmas presents, Christmas gifts, books

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Spring gardening cartoon – dirty socks cartoon

change socks - gardening cartoon

Spring gardening cartoon

A man saying that he thinks he can feel the new life of spring stirring beneath his feet as he stands on the garden lawn

His wife is saying that it’s time for him to change his socks

A cartoon about the differing hygiene standards of men and women, gender differences in cleanliness, smelly socks

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Litter cartoon and gardening cartoon – wind-blown plastic bags caught in trees

Wind blown carrier bags in tree - cartoon

Litter cartoon. Plastic bags caught in a tree

Cartoon showing wind-blown plastic bags caught in the branches of a tree.

A gardening cartoon showing brightly coloured plastic carrier bags adding a splash of colour to a winter garden

The joke is that the man in the cartoon is trying to see something positive about the litter, which most people would see as an eyesore

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Control freak cartoon. Gardening cartoons

Control freak  cartoon. Gardening cartoon

Control freak cartoon.
Gardening cartoon

Cartoon of a gardener obsessively measuring the height of his plants.
His daughter has overheard her mother chatting to a friend, and the child is asking her father “Daddy, what’s a control freak?”

A cartoon about control freaks, anally retentive behaviour, children saying embarrassing things, regimented garden design, flower arrangements, formal garden layouts, obsession with order, psychology of gardening

This is a joke about the cliche of the stereotype of the man and his shed – where the garden shed is a man’s ‘den’ or hideaway from his family, where he can do manly (though unthreatening) things.
Part of the joke is that you wonder why the garden shed would have a cellar, and what might be in it.
It is a cartoon about masculinity, male territory, territoriality, men’s interests, gender roles

Ref: a258

Men and sheds – and cold frames. Garden cartoons

cold frame to cellar cartoon

Men and sheds cartoon.
Gardening cartoon

Cartoon of a gardener emerging from a ladder in what looks like a cold frame

He is saying “It looks like a cold frame but it’s actually the door to the shed’s cellar”

This is a joke about the cliche of the stereotype of the man and his shed – where the garden shed is a man’s ‘den’ or hideaway from his family, where he can do manly (though unthreatening) things.
Part of the joke is that you wonder why the garden shed would have a cellar, and what might be in it.
It is a cartoon about masculinity, male territory, territoriality, men’s interests, gender roles

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Clocks change cartoon. Clocks go forward

Clocks change - gardening cartoon

Clocks going forward cartoon.

Cartoon about the hour changing, and the effect that the dark evenings have on gardeners when clocks go forward.

Cartoon of a gardener when the clocks go forward in the autumn and when it gets dark an hour earlier.
The gardener’s wife is saying that because of the dark evenings he can spend the time that he would have spent in the garden decorating the house instead.

A cartoon about home decorating, GMT, Greenwich Mean Time, BST, British Summer Time, DIY, household chores

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Vegetable gardening cartoon – cabbage white butterfly cartoon

cabbage white butterfly cartoon

Vegetable gardening cartoon – a cabbage white butterfly in the veg patch

Cartoon showing a girl seeing a cabbage white butterfly in her parents’ vegetable garden

She is saying “Daddy – a lovely white butterfly has just landed on your cabbages!”

A cartoon about the innocence of childhood, garden pests, gardeners’ banes,

Ref: a250

Cartoon about garden birds and bird nesting boxes

Bird nesting box cartoon

Cartoon about garden birds and bird nesting boxes

Cartoon showing a gardener looking at a bird that is nesting in a birdbox in his garden.
The bird is building a nest in the nesting box and is carrying nesting material to the nest.

The man is thinking “Isn’t that one of my prize delphinium seedlings?”

Birds as garden pests taking seedlings.
The cartoon also about the subject of being taken advantage of – the gardener has thoughtfully and kindly provided the bird with a nesting box, but the bird has then proceeded to take the gardener’s plants. Of course in real life the bird wouldn’t realise what it was doing, but this is a cartoon, and in cartoons animals are often as conscious of their actions as humans are – in fact they are humans in animal form.

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Winter gardening cartoon – how to protect plants from frost damage

frost protection using wife's best coat - cartoon

Winter gardening cartoon – how to protect plants from frost damage

Cartoon showing a gardener who has protected one of his plants – a sapling – from the cold and frost by using his wife’s best coat

A cartoon about the different relative importance that men and women put in different things and different activities – the rather scruffy gardener sees no importance in a nice coat other than in its usefulness as garden plant insulation
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Autumn leaves blowing off a garden tree – into a neighbour’s garden

autumn leaves blowing to neighbours - cartoon

Cartoon showing autumn leaves blowing off a garden tree – into a neighbour’s garden

Cartoon showing a gardener saying “Always plant trees so that the prevailing wind blows the autumn leaves next door”

A cartoon about the importance of planting a garden taking into account the direction of the prevailing wind

As well as the direction of the prevailing wind the gardener needs to take into account other aspects of the orientation of the garden, such as the direction in which it is facing in relation to the sun

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Gardening cartoon. Burning autumn leaves

Burning autumn leaves - cartoon

Seasonal gardening cartoon – burning autumn leaves

Cartoon about tidying the garden in autumn

Cartoon showing a gardener burning autumn leaves

The gardener is making a bonfire out of the autumn leaves that have fallen onto his garden during fall.
The burning leaves are making a lot of smoke, which is drifting across into a neighbour’s garden where it is making the clothes that are drying on the washing line dirty. The neighbour is putting the fire out by pouring water onto it. (Pouring water onto the fire may actually be making the leaves damp and thus more smokey, which in turn creates a possible further point to the cartoon, even though it’s an inadvertent one).

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Gardening calendar cartoon – planting bulbs at the autumn equinox to flower at the spring equinox

Autumn equinox - gardening cartoon

Seasonal gardening cartoon – planting in the autumn ready for the spring

Cartoon about the first signs of autumn in the garden

Cartoon showing a gardener consulting his garden calendar

The gardener in his garden shed thinking “It’s the autumn equinox – time to plant bulbs ready for the spring equinox!”
A cartoon about the gardener’s year, the fall equinox, the vernal equinox, seasons in the garden, when to plant bulbs.

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Gardening cartoon – the arrival of autumn comes too soon

Cartoon - the arrival of autumn

Gardening cartoon – the arrival of autumn

Cartoon about the first signs of autumn in the garden

Cartoon showing a man about to relax in his garden.
He is noticing the first autumn leaf falling to the ground

The man is thinking “I slave away all summer getting the garden just right to relax in – then suddenly autumn arrives!”
A cautionary cartoon about the dangers of working too hard towards a goal without taking the time to appreciate things around you while you’re doing it. In other words – don’t focus on your work to the exclusion of everything else – take time to smell the roses.
A cartoon about the passing of time, life-work balance, fall gardening, summer gardening, relaxing in the garden.

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Insect pests in gardens – cartoon

ants garden pests cartoon

Garden pests cartoons. Ants in the garden

Cartoon about garden insect pests – ants eating food on a garden table

Cartoon showing a man relaxing at a garden table, but with a column of ants eating his cake on the table. The man is reading a manual titled “How to get rid of ants”.

A cartoon about insect pests in gardens, ants attracted to sweet food in a garden.

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Garden design cartoon – arranging plants in a garden border in alphabetical order

Garden layout cartoon - alphabetical planting

Gardening cartoons. Arranging flowers in an herbaceous border

Cartoon about garden design, laying out garden borders

Cartoon showing a man planting flowers and shrubs in a garden border

The joke in this cartoon centres on the fact that the man who is laying out the garden has no aesthetic appreciation of design or colour in the garden, and is basing his design on categorisation of the plants by name. This is his idea of creating order and control in the garden, and this is what he is happy with.
An important aspect of this cartoon is that the man is arranging his plants in alphabetical order – not in order based on species (which may be a method of planting that places order over aesthetics, but at least such a planting scheme has a rationality to it, whereas planting in alphabetical order is to some extent random and thus is an illusory form of rationale).
A cartoon about planting schemes, garden layout, garden design

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Garden cartoons – a weed’s a weed. What’s the definition of a weed?

A weed's a weed - cartoon

Gardening cartoons. A weed’s a weed

Cartoon about attitudes to weeds and wild plants

Cartoon showing a man admiring a wild flower – but pulling it out of his garden anyway because he thinks of it as a weed

A cartoon about the definition of weeds, wild flowers in gardens, natural gardening, wild flower gardening, encouraging wildlife and nature in the garden.

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Garden design cartoon – down to earth vegetable garden or ostentatious designer garden?

garden design and seed catalogue - cartoon

Gardening and garden design cartoon. Ordering garden seeds from a seed catalogue

Cartoon about garden design and planning

Cartoon showing a man trying to decide what type of garden to create – a vegetable garden or a garden in the form of a sub-tropical paradise retreat

Part of the humour in the cartoon is that the man who is contemplating designing or planning a new garden is a stereotypical old age pensioner – a type of person who probably wouldn’t be interested in creating an aspirational garden design such as a designer garden. He’d normally prefer a traditional vegetable garden or allotment garden in which he could potter round rather than a high status garden that would (hopefully) impress his friends.
The cartoon is meant to imply that an ostentatious high status garden design is more vulgar than an ‘honest’ vegetable plot.
This is a cartoon about cultural types, social class, cultural stereotypes.

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Children won’t go outside to play in the garden

children watching tv in garden - cartoon

Gardening and gardens cartoon. The only way to get children to go outside into the garden is to put a television there

A joke about the problem of getting children away from the television and their computers.
The horror of the idea of ‘outdoor television’ – especially for kids

A comic illustration about child development, children’s games and activities, children won’t play outside anymore, physical exercise for children
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Garden gate cartoon – installing a paying turnstile

turnstile instead of garden gate - cartoon

Gardening and gardens cartoon – installing a turnstile in place of a garden gate

A comic illustration showing a gardener who has replaced his garden gate with a turnstile complete with a money slot

The turnstile means that to enter his garden people have to pay. This acts as a deterrence to unwelcome visitors

By having to pay in order to reach the front door the turnstile stops cold calling door-to-door salesmen, junk mail deliverers, leaflet deliverers, Jehovah’s witnesses and other unwelcome visitors. Only people who really want to visit the house will pay to enter the garden (and possibly get a refund when the front door is answered.
I think I may install one of these devises myself now that I think about it.

Ref: a227

Garden humour. A drawback of tall plants

tall flower cartoon

Garden design cartoon. A drawback of tall plants

A humorous illustration showing a flower bed with a very tall specimen in it.

The gardener is saying “Its height is very impressive – but it stops us appreciating the amazing delicacy of its flowers”
The flowers are ones that you really need to be able to get close to.

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Airborne sycamore seeds invading a garden

sycamore seeds invading garden - humour

Gardening humour – airborne sycamore seeds invading a garden

Cartoon showing sycamore ‘helicopters’ fluttering down into a garden on a gust of wind.

The gardener is saying “Isn’t nature wonderful? All those sycamore seeds fluttering over our garden – and every last one of them fertile”

A joke about invasive species of trees, seed propagation, evolved seed dispersal strategies

a224

Cartoon – sun loving plants and shade loving plants

cartoon - sun loving plants and shade loving plants

Gardening humour about sun loving plants and shade loving plants

Cartoon showing a gardener potting up plants into plant pots in his garden.

He’s putting sun loving plants on the top of a work table or stand, and shade loving plants on a shelf under the table – in the shade
A humorous illustration about positioning plants in the garden

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Mowing the lawn humor – cutting round someone on a lounger on the lawn

mowing round lounger on lawn - cartoon

Gardening cartoon about mowing the lawn – cutting round someone lying on a lounger on the lawn

Comic illustration showing a gardener cutting the grass and haviving to divert his lawn mower round someone relaxing on a lounger on the lawn.

The lawn mower in the cartoon is the type with rotary blades that create stripes on the lawn. Here the stripes bend round the obstacle on the lawn. This is part of the humour, because stripy lawns are often thought of as being very neat (to the point of obsessive neatness).

a221

Design for small gardens – cartoon. Using a spiral staircase to maximise space

spiral staircase in small garden comic illustration

Gardening humour. Design for small suburban gardens. Using a spiral staircase to maximise space in a small garden

Vertical gardening comic illustration – showing an outdoor spiral staircase in a very small garden, with flowers planted in hanging baskets up the staircase.

How to make a small garden seem bigger.
I may do a different version of this cartoon, set in a particular town in the UK. I’ll call the cartoon “The hanging gardens of Basildon”. Surely that must be the name of garden centre in Basildon. If it isn’t, it should be.
This type of gardening is now known as vertical gardening. Versions of it can be found on walls on the sides of city buildings, both outdoors and indoors.

a220