Apr 192013
 
Buddhist garden in St John's Wood

St John’s Wood

I walk past this garden every day, and it gives me an inordinate amount of pleasure. Unlike pretty much every other garden in St John’s Wood, it is entirely unreconstructed. It has no box balls, just some traditional shrubs and perennials. It doesn’t have electric gates, just a Rosa rugosa trained along a few wires, and no hard landscaping apart from a little pond. There’s always something new to look at, and over the past few weeks it has been filled with primroses, forget-me-nots, pulmonaria, daffodils and an azalea. It’s semi-wild, but lovingly tended.

My SJW mole tells me that the house is a Buddhist monastery. It’s the former home of Christmas Humphreys, a barrister (he worked on the Ruth Ellis case) and a Buddhist. After his death he bequeathed the house to a Zen foundation.

I love the fact that the house isn’t owned by an oligarch or a banker, but some gentle people who meditate. I hope they never have cause to sell it, because if they do, it will be paved over and some box balls added just as soon as the new basement and electric gates have been put in.

Related articles

Enhanced by Zemanta
Mar 012013
 
P1040277

St John’s Wood

Regular readers of this blog (hello, both of you!) will know that St John’s Wood is considered the box ball capital of Europe. Topiary has been trending in NW8 for years now, along with fancy fencing, electric gates, doric columns, lion and eagle statues and overly large or small dogs.

Quite often, the box balls or lollipop bay trees are quite out of proportion with the giant pillars and lion statues, which amuses me because it shows that money cannot buy taste. But this tiny area (a side passage) is perfect. It contains just three plants: the obligatory box balls (lovely plump ones), a wall of Trachelospermum jasminoides and a Magnolia grandiflora. The big leaves of the magnolia contrast with the tiny leaves of the box, and the hard landscaping complements the pots and the walls. It’s simple, but really effective.

I’m reliably informed by my local mole that the garden was designed by Anouska Hempel’s ‘people’.

The same mole also informs me that the pots are made of plastic. In St John’s Wood! I’m surprised this isn’t contravening a local bylaw.

Sep 252012
 

St Johns Wood

St John’s Wood has the highest box-ball-per-capita ratio of anywhere in the world and more people are employed to cut topiary there than in the whole of Italy. The area has more electric gates than all of the prisons in the UK and chihuahuas outnumber humans by a ratio of 2:1.

I could carrying on making up facts about St John’s Wood all day, but you get the idea – it’s seriously posh.

That’s why I was surprised to see this wafty, naturalistic planting in a front garden. There’s an awful lot of formal hard landscaping in SJW, so this is a very refreshing change.