Jan 212013
 
Isabella Street, Southwark, SE1

Southwark

I’d like to say that Isabella Street is one of London’s best-kept secrets, but it isn’t really. It’s just that I’ve only recently discovered it. I was initially drawn to it by – you’ve guessed it – the plants that adorn the archway at the entrance.

Isabella Street isn’t a ‘street’ as such – it’s an odd patch of ground sandwiched between a railway bridge and Southwark and Waterloo East stations. Strangely, it’s home to a few restaurants and bars, including EV, a Turkish place. Dozens of hardy yet exotic-looking plants in pots – bamboos, cordylines, Mexican orange blossom (choisya), loquats (Eriobotrya japonica) and date palms, all watered lovingly by the restaurant staff – line the walkway and seclude the outdoor tables. At night they’re lit with fairy lights. Somehow all this gives the place a holiday feel. The place is packed on Friday and Saturday nights, especially in summer.

I’d wager that no one would be drawn to Isabella Street without the plants – they make the place. Without them it’s just a patch of concrete with a view of the Shard.

Jan 212011
 

St John's Wood

This posh terrace of houses really stood out this morning as their front gardens are so green. All of the gardens have a similar set-up – some bamboos, fatsias, choisyas and so on, plus bin stores covered in alpines and evergreens. Quite a few of them have little seating areas. They look very similar, so maybe they were planted by the same person. Whoever it was certainly knew what they were doing.