THERE is, in most gardens, parks and windowsill pots, a place where the cultivated meets the wild – purple toadflax that pop up among the lavender; a yellow poppy that nestles itself into a crack in a doorstep, the creep of buttercup under the fence: the wild weeds of the woods amongst the tulips, the auriculas, the bright and showy dahlias. Some dig them out, some allow them to mingle, and some pull out their sketchbook and draw. Angie Lewin is one of these last, letting many of the wild visitors from the woodland next door to her Edinburgh garden grow, at least for a season. And that contrast of two worlds is the focus of her new exhibition of watercolours, her first in the large upstairs space at Edinburgh's Scottish Gallery, a mix of the wild and the cultivated, the loose and delicate forms found on a riverbank in Speyside and the zing-bright cultivars of an Edinburgh garden.

Lewin, a printmaker whose distinctive prints full of seedheads and umbellifers are widely familiar, bases her work in the minutiae, if not the exact botanical detail, of the plants which surround her. This way of looking close up, even amongst a landscape of towering mountains or rugged beaches, is how she views the world in her art, and the process of paying attention to the small things was something that became even more important when the lockdown came earlier this year, and she found herself unmoored.

“I think it was the same for quite a few artists and writers that I know – the ones who weren't homeschooling, anyway!” says Lewin. She had come down from Speyside to Edinburgh a few days before lockdown for a meeting with the Scottish Gallery, then decided to stay. “I felt rather like I couldn't settle for a few weeks, even though I normally work from home. A bit lost, in a weird sort of way.” But as it did for many, nature and the joy of watching things grow became a great source of coping. Lewin's house has a small but beautiful garden backing on to one of Edinburgh's woodlands. “I had bought some auriculas the year before,” says Lewin of the tiny, brightly coloured primulas that have their origins some centuries ago in Alpine meadows. “What was so fortunate for me about the time lockdown happened was that my auriculas came in to flower just as it started. And because I was there and feeding them, they flourished, so I had a focus. I did a lot of watercolours of the auriculas - there was something very comforting about being able to focus in so much on things at plant level.”

The auricula watercolours are bold, the flowers themselves presented against patterned backdrops, including, in one particularly arresting painting, some brilliant orange woodblock-printed Japanese paper. Other cultivated flowers and plants appear too, from witch hazel to astrantia and dahlias. The watercolours come from the past 18 months, in which she has, unusually, done almost no printmaking. “But I just love the flow of watercolour, the way the pigments granulate. It's a really flexible process. I use very thick paper, almost like card, and scrub back into it if I put on too much colour. It's so satisfying. The paper glows through, and sometimes you get accidental products of layers of colour, a different density to it, there's beautiful variation.” The works here are still lives, or sprung-from still lives, the gleanings of beach combing along the Moray Firth or in North Uist – a favourite spot. There are pebbles of Lewisian gneiss and pods of dried bladderwrack in muted colours. There is valerian and scabious from the banks of the River Spey. All of it is collected in her studio, a jumble of feathers and pebbles and seedheads, waiting to be arranged in to the patterned ceramics that she picks up in junk and antique shops.

“I'm drawn to pattern and recreating pattern,” says Cheshire-born Lewin, who trained at Central St. Martins in London as a printmaker but who has always carried her watercolours around with her, the painting becoming a productive counter to the solid colours and heft of the printing process. “In a sense for me, the decoration or pattern is more important than the form. Pattern-making is really integral to it all.” And then she laughs. “It's probably why my plants aren't botanically correct!”

Lewin will go back to printmaking now, but she tells me that she's so inspired by the watercolour process she doesn't really want to stop. A few more new paintings will find their way into the exhibition next week. “It was such a thrill to be asked to fill that space. I was worried at first about how many paintings I should do. But the ideas kept coming, and now I've got more I want to work on!”

Angie Lewin: Nature Assembled, Scottish Gallery 16 Dundas Street, Edinburgh, 0131 558 1200 Until 24 Oct, Tues - Fri by appointment, Sat 11am - 1pm, walk-ins welcome.