The Garden Museum


The Swedish garden designer Ulf Nordfjell gave a talk at the Garden Museum last week. The audience was different to usual: taller, better looking and better dressed. In other words, they were Swedish. They all seemed to know each other and as they rabbited away in their own language I felt like I’d stumbled across a new Scandinavian plant-based TV drama soon to be shown on BBC Four.

Ulf talked mostly about his civic projects in Sweden (they’re big on improving public spaces there, to encourage people to live in the cities). I’d like to have heard more about gardening in a cold climate, as that’s what we seem to now be doing in the UK.

Ulf did say, though, that he focuses on perennials that need light, not heat, to grow. I guess the plants in this picture (taken outside the Garden Museum after his talk) fall into that category – they’re all blooming away despite the cold winter and spring.


Hyacinths in Lambeth

Last week I had to go to the Garden Museum twice in the same day – once for business, once for pleasure. The journey felt a bit groundhog day-ish, but it meant that I got to walk past this garden four times.

It smelt amazing.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Doing the Lambeth walk

Carex, ivy and silver birch in a pot

The walk from Lambeth North tube to the Garden Museum isn’t the most scenic (it’s better to walk from Westminster, and enjoy the view of the river and Houses of Parliament on the way), but I like it.

If you go via the Imperial War Museum, there are some interesting town houses (some with nice gardens) to nosey at. If you take the short cut, you walk through an industrial estate that has some unusual-looking businesses. Whichever way you go, you walk past a cafe that always looks horrible and an industrial bakers that always smells amazing. And then you end up at the Garden Museum, a haven for garden lovers in the midst of thundering traffic.

Last week I took the industrial estate route, and saw these pots: a grass (carex), ivy (its stems growing upwards) and multi-stemmed silver birch. There are quite a few of them, outside what I think is a design studio. A nice bit of permanent, low maintenance but high-impact planting, don’t you think?

Enhanced by Zemanta

A towering achievement


The Chelsea Fringe has begun! Here’s one of the projects – Living Towers made by landscape architect Adam Shepherd. They’re still a work in progress in this pic, which was taken after a Fringe meeting last week at the Garden Museum. Adam specialises in green walls, and these towers are planted with persicaria and foxgloves.

At the Chelsea Fringe party at the museum this week, the Bicycle Beer Garden (above) also made an appearance and there were also giant tulip sculptures from Jigantics (below). That’s not to mention some cucumber and thyme-infused gin and some barn dancing.

The Fringe now has over 80 projects – not bad considering that the organisers would have been happy with around 20.  And it’s all been pulled off without a sponsor – just the hard work of lots of volunteers. I’m really proud to be a small part of it.



I went to the Garden Museum the other night for a talk by the landscape architect Charles Jencks. I like what he does and he was a great speaker, but  I didn’t really understand a word he said. I came away feeling a bit thick.

Anyway, on the way there I saw this wisteria. It’s been so wintry that I was surprised to see it out already. Isn’t it spectacular? I doubt I’ll see a better one this year. It like the orange watering can, too.

Wisteria is also trailing along the railings by the pavement – lovely idea.