Jun 302012
 

Mortlake

On a Plants & Planting course at Capel Manor College a few years ago, we students joked that we needed faintly ridiculous, posh-sounding names if we were going to get ahead in the garden design business. Ann renamed herself Honey and Mark called himself Muddy. It was agreed that my name didn’t need changing – it’s ridiculous enough already.

Anyway, Ann/Honey is now busy gardening, designing and advising the good folk of south west London. Her own garden is tiny – just a few metres square – but it feels much bigger. She’s somehow managed to cram in a potting bench, a table, a shed (complete with a green roof covered in sedums, below) and umpteen plants in pots. She’s even managed to divide it into two sections, which gives the illusion of more space.

The climbing white rose is Rosa ‘Sander’s White Rambler’. It’s survived living in a recycling box for the past five or six years, a plastic half barrel for five years before that and a shallow raised border for five years before that.

Like most London gardeners, Ann would love a bigger space. But what’s she’s done with what she’s got is an inspiration for anyone with only a few square feet to play with.

Nov 032011
 

St Albans

I’ve never noticed this shed before, even though it’s on the way to my allotment. I’m not sure what the roof terrace bit is for – is it a sunbathing area, or a lookout point? It might have come in handy after the terrible chicken massacre earlier this year.

I’m loving the yellow and brown colour combo, anyway. And the huge windows. And the fact that it’s a bit higgledy-piggledy. I’d love to have a go at building something like this one day, but seeing as I struggle to put up an ironing board, let alone something more complicated, it’s probably unlikely…

Mar 312011
 

St Albans

There are not many things that I covet in life but a greenhouse or potting shed is definitely one of them. So when I heard that Jackie and Pete were building a shed-stroke-greenhouse on their allotment I was a tad envious. They’ve been working on it all winter and when I went recently it was finished.

Jackie gave my co-allotmenteer Huw and I a guided tour. The greenhouse half is home to lots of seedlings and a giant datura overwintering in a pot, and the shed half has a seed cupboard made by Jackie and Pete’s daughter. There’s also a water butt, barbecue, deckchairs, weather vane and dreamcatcher. Pretty much all the materials were salvaged and lots of components were donated by other plotholders.

In the greenhouse Jackie has a sign that says: ‘Born to garden, obliged to work’. Jackie is now actually retired and spends most days at the allotment. Maybe the sign is there to remind her how lucky she is.