Bath Botanic Garden

Bath

I lived in Bath for three years when I was a student, and never knew it had a Botanic Garden. I wasn’t interested in gardening then – at the time the University offered a BSc in Horticulture and I used to think that all the glasshouses looked a bit boring. Mind you, I thought the boffins in labs tapping away at something called the ‘World Wide Web’ looked a bit boring, too. Thank heavens I didn’t embark on a career as a trend forecaster.

Anyway, I’m not a huge fan of botanic gardens as I’m not that interested in plant collections as such – more how plants are put together. But Bath Botanic Garden was set up (over 100 years ago) with the aim of being an attractive garden with botanical interest, rather than a garden that is purely of botanical interest. So it has an interesting layout and lots of nice features such as a scented walk and some surprisingly contemporary herbaceous borders.

Apparently it looks its best in spring but it was looking pretty good at dusk on an October day. The borders were still looking good and there was lots of autumn colour, berries and grasses, plus some amazing scents from the likes of a huge Abelia x grandiflora.

Simple but effective

Walthamstow

This garden is tiny – no more than a couple of metres square – but it’s managed to squeeze in a silver birch, some evergreen shrubs (lavender and rosemary) and a wisteria. The colour palette is greens, whites, purple and greys (the white bark is going to look great in winter) and it’s low maintenance and drought tolerant too. Sometimes the simplest ideas really are the best.

Back to school

St Albans

I went to pick up my nephew Joe from school the other day. He goes to the same school that I went to in the 1970s and almost everything about it is exactly the same, right down to the smell in the classrooms. But where once there was a concrete paddling pool (used a handful of times a year when the weather was hot enough) there is now a small garden. The pupils also have an allotment and there are plots for parents to rent, too.

When Joe came to my allotment last year, he expertly harvested a courgette, twisting it off at its base. He said he’d learnt how to do it at nursery. I wouldn’t have known what a courgette was at the age of four.

Any article about growing food with kids always says that children are more likely to eat food they’ve grown themselves, but that’s not the case with Joe. He’s not likely to eat a courgette anytime soon – or any other green vegetable for that matter. Although when it comes to the strawberries that his Dad grows in pots, no one else gets a look-in.

Pimp your pavement

Kentish Town

If there’s one place I’d like to live in London, it’s Kentish Town. It’s near Hampstead Heath, is home to a healthy amount of oddballs and hasn’t entirely been taken over by the three-wheeled buggy/Farrow & Ball/cupcake brigade. Plus it has a resident who had the idea of planting up the tree pits.

His name is Sean Kanavan and he lives on Ryland Road. You can read more about him here. Every tree is underplanted – currently with irises and hollyhocks. Apparently the council obliged by lifting paving slabs to make more room for the plants. The road has won Camden in Bloom awards and in the spring sunshine it was lovely place to be.

If anyone fancies buying me a place there, do let me know.

Victoria sunset

Victoria

I wasn’t expecting to take any pics yesterday as the weather was pretty grim, but towards the end of the day there was a beautiful sunset. I found these pleached pear trees – several rows of them – in the gardens opposite some swanky flats in Victoria.

And guess what? Beneath them was a lush lawn – and a sign saying ‘Keep off the grass’. Oh dear. Looks like the theory in my previous posting was not 100% correct. The sign did say it was private property, though.

I walked on the grass to take this pic.

If life gives you lemons…

Lemons growing on Wigmore St, 15 February
Wigmore Street, W1

… take a picture of them. This balcony is on Wimpole St, above a steak restaurant. Before Christmas, white roses were in bloom, and now its lemon tree is fruiting. One white rose remains. I nearly got run over taking this picture – in the end a friendly cab driver stopped for me.