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Cultivating the Imagination....
The ramblings of a designer, photographer, gardener and haphazard cook
I am also lucky enough to have co written a successful book called Planting Design Essentials which has a wealth of information for both beginners and experienced gardeners. In it I share my passion for using plants as an art form in a simple, easy to follow style and the book explains how even pruning can be creative.
This sunny garden in SW17 was finished just a few weeks ago but is already looking quite established. Partly due to all the rain we’ve been having but mostly due to Ann, the client, who had collected many plants for the garden including Cercis ‘Forest Pansy’, a tree fern, a lemon tree and many herbaceous perennials. When the clients moved into the house last year there was an old lawn, a small paved patio and a large timber store, plus a few climbing plants and shrubs. There are also two mature lime trees in a raised bed at the back which were in need of some attention.
The garden was built by the Garden Builders who have been building my gardens for many years and who are great to work with. As with many small London gardens there was no side access to the back and everything had to go through the house, but the landscape team took great care to protect the inside of the property during the build. The clients found them polite, courteous and hardworking and I think they now miss them slightly! We used a mix of riven sandstone paving slabs and brick pavers from Chelmer Valley for a cottage garden feel. I kept the pattern simple so stone cutting was kept to a minimum. The bespoke planters are from Garden Larch and will weather down to a soft grey in time.
Here a perspective sketch and plan show the final design
Now there is a generous dining space wrapped around with large planters, a winding path leading through the garden and a bench to catch the best of the sun. A new garden store lives in a utility area with the compost bin all screened by trellis panels. It would have been difficult to have a sitting area under the lime trees at the back as they drop sticky sap through the summer so the attention is brought back into the middle of the garden with the bench and a bird bath (still to be installed)
I’m looking forward to watching this garden develop and mature in the very enthusiastic and dedicated hands of its new owners Ann and Willy.
First Blog entry for a long time but hopefully first of many. Garden is bursting at the seams with all this rain and I have the tallest foxgloves ever which the bumble bees love. Blackbirds are also having a great time with the enormous fat worms in the lawn. All pretty healthy out there really but some sun would be welcome.
Look out for tomorrow's Evening Standard Homes & Property section. There will be an article about my garden in SW London by garden writer Pattie Barron and photographs by Marainne Majerus. I was lucky enough to have Marianne come and take some lovely pictures of my garden last year just after we were open for charity through the National Gardens Scheme.
Last week the weather in London was very cold, but also dry and sunny and at this time of year the sun is so low in the sky it can be literally dazzling. Not good when your windows need cleaning but it can give some amazing effects when it shines through leaves and seed heads in the garden. I took these photos in my garden around midday, something I would never do at the height of summer, but the soft winter light was beautiful. The flowers heads of the large pampas grass which grows in our neighbours garden wave to us above the fence and this year the show is particularly good.