Jan 262015
 
Cheltenham-College

Cheltenham

January is the worst month for this blog. It’s too early for most early bulbs like aconites and iris reticulata (and you don’t tend to see them in the average garden anyway) so if I’m lucky I see a few cyclamen or pansies in a windowbox. So thank heavens for evergreens.

The planting in the grounds of Cheltenham College is mostly evergreen – euonymus, lavender, santolina, box, choisya, viburnum. Coupled with the well tended lawns and giant cedar, it must look immaculate all year round – if pretty much the same in every season. I enjoy walking past it, as it’s such a hit of green. I’ll be interested to see if any spring bulbs appear, or whether they embellish it with summer bedding.

Feb 182013
 
Raised beds containing evergreens outside Tillie's Nail Bar

Warwick Avenue

This classy, rustic looking planter planted with tasteful wintry evergreens instantly caught my eye. I was intrigued to see what type of emporium it was standing outside. A cafe, or kitchen shop, maybe?

Actually, it’s a nail bar and beauty salon. It’s called Tillie’s and a quick Google has revealed that it’s a favourite of Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar (and local yummy mummies).

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Feb 012013
 

 

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I stopped by to see Andrea Brunsendorf, head gardener at the Inner Temple Garden the other day. Her display of pots is amazing in spring and summer, and in winter she keeps the display going with evergreens. Any pots that are filled with bare earth or planted with bulbs are covered with pieces of conifer. Andrea says this is common practice in Germany – it’s too cold for many types of winter bedding, so the conifer pieces make pots and window boxes look more attractive in the chillier months.

Andrea says that the conifer cover has the added advantage of keeping the Inner Temple’s cat out of the pots. It doesn’t fool squirrels, though…

Jan 132013
 

Brighton

My friends Tim and Alan have recently moved to Brighton, where they’ve bought a house that is identical to the one they lived in in London. The only differences are that the new house is a bit larger, has a loft extension and was cheaper (natch). As all their furniture is in exactly the same place as it was in the old house, the effect is a tad disconcerting. I only remembered I was in Brighton and not East Dulwich when a seagull screeched outside.

I once mortally offended Tim and Alan by telling them that their London garden ‘could’ be very nice, when in their opinion it already was very nice (I’m not known for my tact). This time I was careful to keep quiet, but even Tim and Alan agreed that they’ll need to sort out their front garden at some point. It’s typical of so many terraces – less than a metre deep and currently consisting of some dodgy paving and some recycling bins.

This house, a few doors down, has dealt with this tricky space by filling it with big evergreens. The bamboo and fatsia are low maintenance and provide a screen against prying eyes. They also give lots of impact, even on a dark winter’s day.

Dec 182012
 

Langham St, W1

In some contexts, evergreen box and ivy – and nothing else – would look a bit uninteresting/unimaginative. But against this very distinctive cream and black tiled background, it looks perfect. There are lots of similar window boxes outside the Grange Langham Court Hotel.

It’s not all monochrome, though – there’s usually a splash of colour from bedding in hanging baskets around the front door.

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.