Aug 302013
 

 

My garden_edited-1

Bath

This is my new garden. It’s 100 feet long, faces south east and – major life change ahoy! – is on the edge of Bath.

It’s taken me a very long time to get here. For ages I was looking for a flat in London, which was not at all easy on my small budget, especially as I wanted a garden. I saw dozens of dingy, overpriced flats at the furthest reaches of the Tube… and all the while I was slowly realising that I didn’t want to live in London any more. London is a great place, and I’m glad it was my home for many years. It’s surprisingly leafy, too, as I hope this blog shows. But as this blog also probably shows, I am hopelessly drawn to greenery, preferably in large quantities. I’m also drawn to growing as much of my own food as I can, slowing down a bit, and staring at fields of cows. None of which is really possible in London.

And so, to cut a long and (as my loved ones will undoubtedly confirm) boring story short, here I am. I can’t quite believe that I have a house, let alone a garden – finally. I’m trying to figure out how to deal with the slope from left to right and the rather large tree in my neighbour’s garden. And also how to make the most of the beautiful view (cows included). I will probably lose most of the lawn (which is a total bugger to mow anyway) and replace it with plants. A great many of them will be edible. I may have a shed. I’ll definitely have a greenhouse. I’ll try to incorporate many of the ideas that I’ve documented on this blog. If you have any ideas as to what I can do with it, do let me know – it’s a real blank canvas.

In the meantime, I can’t imagine walking past a lovely window box or visiting a garden and not taking a picture of it, so I’ll definitely carry on writing this blog. I might occasionally document my own garden’s progress too, if you’re interested. There are just two small hindrances: 1) I’ve become terribly addicted to Pinterest (for house and garden inspiration) and 2) I can’t stop staring at cows. But I’m sure the novelty will wear off soon.

 

 

Aug 262013
 
Fennel&sweetpeas

Hurstpierpoint, East Sussex

Sweet peas are my favourite flower. My Grandpa used to grow them in his garden, and bring me and my sister a bunch whenever he came to our house. I used to put mine on my bedroom windowsill, in my Sylvac squirrel vase, and gaze at them from my bed. The smell of them still reminds me of him, and of childhood.

I like the dark-coloured ones best, and I love how these are offset by the yellow, airy fennel. 

Aug 212013
 
St Johns Wood

St Johns Wood

If you’re planting on a balcony, you’ve got to be bold. A balcony is no place for subtlety. You only have a few plants at your disposal, so you need to create maximum impact with them. That way, you can enjoy them from the inside and passersby can enjoy them from the outside.

On my old balcony I experimented with all kinds of subtle combinations. They looked pretty when I was sitting right next to them, but didn’t look too special from the other end of my living room. From a few floors down, they looked a bit of a mess. But when I planted red geraniums, they were visible from the other end of the Willesden High Road – and if you’ve been to the Willesden High Road, you’ll know that that can only be a good thing.

Red really draws the eye – not always what you want in a border, but perfect on a balcony. I like red mixed with pink. I also like red mixed with orange. I also like pink and orange. I love red, orange and pink against black. But I do not like pink on its own. I do hope you’ve got all that.

Aug 152013
 
Bath

Bath

I loved these stately hollyhocks, standing like sentinels in gravel. I presume they’ve self seeded there. They reminded me of some verbascums planted in a courtyard in the Temple by Andrea Brunsendorf, head gardener at the Inner Temple. I saw them back in June after the Inner Temple Dog Show, but in all the excitement I forgot to share them with you.

Verbascums

Temple, London

 

Aug 092013
 
Mells, Somerset

Mells, Somerset

My perfect afternoon involves a few key elements: a garden to nose around, some plants for sale, bric-a-brac to peruse and a cream tea. The Walled Garden at Mells offers all of the above and is therefore very much my kind of place. Add some freshly cut local flowers, a pizza oven and an adjacent field of cows and you’ve pretty much hit upon my idea of nirvana.

Mells gravel_edited-1

The garden has minimal hard landscaping, feels slightly ramshackle and is informally planted with perennials and annuals. Old apple trees provide shade and there’s lots of interesting sculpture among the plants.

Mells buttonholes

While we were there, a team was quietly preparing bouquets of locally grown flowers for five weddings that were taking place that weekend. Here’s a selection of the buttonholes. Subtle, aren’t they? But lovely.

Aug 052013
 
Strawberries in a hanging basket

Nunney, Somerset

It’s a brave and generous person who grows luscious-looking strawberries in two hanging baskets right next to a busy pavement. Nunney is a pretty village with a very grand ruined castle, and it attracts its fair share of tourists. People must be walking past these tantalising berries all day – I wonder how many have succumbed to temptation?

I think the variety is strawberry ‘Toscana’, a new-ish everbearing variety that has pink flowers (you can just see one to the top right of the pic). Something this pretty and edible is the holy grail of gardening as far as I’m concerned, and I will definitely be growing some next year. They will be residing in my back garden, though. I’m not at all generous as far as soft fruits are concerned.