Aug 302011
 

Warren Street

I walk past this doorway a lot and always think how pretty it is. I’ve tried photographing it several times from various different angles, but have never got it quite right. Today the bike was perfectly placed, it wasn’t in the glare of full sun, and there was nothing parked in front of it. And I still couldn’t get a decent pic!

Top marks, though, to whoever planted this tiny container garden in hardly any space at all – and in the centre of London too. The jasmine climbing up the arch is almost over now but it smelt amazing.

I want that bike.

Aug 242011
 

Totnes

If there’s a nicer town than Totnes in Devon, I’ve yet to find it. It’s a Transition Town, has a garden sharing scheme and is surrounded by a patchwork of gently rolling hills. It’s virtually impossible to find anything in the town that isn’t locally sourced or organic – and that’s just in the best convenience store ever, the Happy Apple. I’d move there like a shot if it wasn’t so far away.

As it’s very hilly, the town isn’t conducive to walking with a crutch so I was unable to gad about too much. But to be honest I wouldn’t have been too sorry if I’d had to spend my entire time at Mary’s house, which is filled to the rafters with charming vintage finds. This table and chairs is one of her more recent additions to the garden.

Aug 222011
 

Notting Hill

I’m always telling my flatmate John that he should start up his own blog, rubbernecking.com. He’s an expert on who lives in what house, what they paid for it and what’s in their garden.

He happened to have his camera on him when he was visiting a friend the other day and snapped this pic of a green wall on the house opposite, in true Through the Garden Gate style!

I’ve never seen a green wall on a private house before – has anyone else? I bet it didn’t come cheap…

Aug 172011
 

Trafalgar Square by Mark Roberts

As I am currently unable to gad about, my next guest blogger is Mark Roberts. I asked him to take a pic of the green wall in Trafalgar Square that I failed to notice in its entirety a few weeks back. Mark is a TV sound recordist and has regaled us all over the years with his tales of derring-do in far-flung places. I’m trying to persuade him to start a blog of his own.

Anyway, over to Mark…

Since V’s sprained her ankle she’s asked me to contribute to her blog. I’m not sure why she writes it with her feet, though.

For the last 18 years I’ve lived in Hong Kong, where the summers are oppressively hot and humid and the only plantlife you see growing on walls is mould. That’s when I usually escape the urban steambath and head over to the UK. How refreshing, then, to be cycling around London and come across a giant wall of green that’s appreciated rather than contemptuously sprayed with fungicide.

Van Gogh’s masterpiece, A Wheatfield with Cypresses, has literally taken root outside the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square. It’s reminiscent of a thick patterned shagpile carpet made up of more than 8,000 plants. Not so much painting by numbers but planting by numbers. It certainly brings a calming effect to one of London’s busiest tourist spots. I saw it on a rather overcast day, not really at its best,  but I could imagine it in full sun, bursting with life. Next time you’re in the area, spend a few moments taking it all in.

Apparently Banksy’s been seen loitering nearby with a strimmer…

Aug 142011
 

Walthamstow (by Paul Lindt)

My current accessories, a Nora Batty-style bandage and a crutch, are not conducive to taking pics for this blog. So it’s time to call in some favours. For the next few posts I’ll be employing some roving reporters to take pics on my behalf.

First up is Danny’s garden, taken by Paul Lindt. Danny is a man of many talents and his garden is a wonder, cleverly designed and laid out with his own fair hands, and packed with plants. Not that an estate agent liked it much, though – when he came round to value the house a while ago he informed Danny that the garden ‘could be very nice’.

Anyway, Danny’s front garden has been shortlisted for a ‘Best Kept Front Garden’ award in Walthamstow, and deservedly so.

Over to Danny…

‘In a blatant attempt to curry favour with the judges, and tick the criteria boxes (attractiveness, creativity, wildlife friendly, choice of plants), my supporting text for my entry read:

“Chock full of year-round interest, subtle colour, texture and some unusual plants. Danny’s front garden rises to the challenge of dry, summertime shade.He’s combined woodland plants like thalictrum, astrantia, tricyrtis, anemones, phlox and hardy geraniums. It’s peppered with self-seeded michaelmas daisies and softened by puffs of deschampsia.  The house is clothed in spring-flowering clematis and white wisteria and a headily scented trachelospermum (a surprising success in shade).

Architectural plants include acanthus, phormium and fern while the front door is flanked by a pair of cypress trees.  A wall-trained pyracantha has been home to nesting blackbirds again this year, and the soft dry soil provides nesting sites for solitary bees and the ubiquitous ant.  And he’s a martyr to the snail.
Come late summer spiders strike up instant webs between tall stems, and autumnal yellow and golden hues suffuse the foliage. Fading to a garden of evergreens and dried seedheads. When spring comes around the garden is soon awash with mauve clematis and wallflowers and tulips, bluebells and alliums until the street trees draw the curtains on the sun for another summer. 

It’s not the most manicured of gardens, ‘natural’ you might say, but Danny’s crammed it to the gunnells with lovely plants that vie for the attention of passers-by.”

Let’s hope he wins, eh? I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime if you spot a nice garden on your travels, please take a pic and send it to me via the Contact Me tab!
PS You can see more pics of Danny’s garden here. Well worth a look.

 

Aug 122011
 

Trafalgar Square

When I walked past the National Gallery the other night, I saw that there was a green wall outside it. It was mostly obscured by a van so I took this quick pic.

When I got home and Googled it, I realised that the wall actually a representation of Van Gogh’s A Wheatfield, with Cypresses. And it’s been there since May. How news of this passed me by, I don’t know. And why it didn’t occur to me to stand back a bit I don’t know either!

I was intending to go back and take another pic of the wall in its entirety, but I’ve sprained my ankle. So I’m afraid you’ll have to make do with this glimpse for now.

Normal service will be resumed soon…

Aug 102011
 

Suffolk

I’m seeing a lot of clashing colours this year – reds and oranges, pinks and oranges and so on – and they’re really growing on me. They make pots unmissable. And I love oranges and reds on a background of black.

This was taken at one of my favourite places, Bridge Nursery, near Dunwich. It’s a nursery (it used to supply Fisk’s clematis) that has a lovely little cafe. It’s very popular with walkers and cyclists and as a result, tables and chairs are gradually creeping into every part of the plant display area. It’s very sheltered, which is very welcome in blustery Suffolk.

I think it’s open every day of the year, even on Christmas Day. My dad is up in arms, though, because they’ve taken to shutting at 4pm during the week. In his view, that’s sacrilege. He says that 4pm is  ‘Britain’s finest hour’ – ie time for a cup of tea. I think he might have a point, although shutting at 4pm is pretty common in sleepy Suffolk.