Author Archives: Wayne

Agatha Christie home (Greenway)

It’ has also been a year of visiting and discovering lovely garden. Two highlights have been visiting Agatha Christie home (Greenway) and its delightful gardens, which being slightly overgrown was just my cup of tea.

The garden at Greenways sits within a woodland garden that waxes and weaves its way down to river Dart. It has spectacular views, colourful borders, a fernery, a walled garden and majestic trees. Many of which were planted to protect the privacy of Madam Christie.

The garden at Greenway.

A new garden opening in Clapham

I was honoured to be invited to see a wonderful garden that’s small but perfectly formed. The garden belongs to Jack and Chris and shows the amazing and wonderful things that can be done in a very small garden.  And the good news is it’s going opening to the public on 23rd July 2017 as part of the NGS (National Open Garden Scheme)Address : 2 Littlebury Road, Clapham (1 -5 pm).

This small garden, creatively packed with bright colours and interesting plants. One of the many highlights of this garden is a living wall of 50 fern species, a micro-pond, tropical plants and quirky indoor plants. In July colour comes from monad, clematis, acanthus, salvia and aliums.  September opening sees (Sunday 10 September (1 – 5pm) Dahlias in triumphant, unmissable glory. Owned by a garden designer/blogger who uses his garden as a trial ground for new ideas.

I’m so happy that people are going to be able to see this truly wonderful garden.

I urge people go and see this small but perfectly formed garden.


An Australian Odyssey

Just back from a trip down under and was lucky enough to visit Wendy Whiteley’s wonderfully astounding secret garden that sits on the edge of Lavender Bay on a large patch of former derelict land.

Although, I set out to find Wendy’s garden it very much feels like stumbling upon an amazingly magical make believe land with incredible views of Sydney. The planting is lush, tropical and dense with lots of nooks and crannies in which to simply sit. At times it’s hard to believe you’re in a city. I was there for four hours and saw tourist mingling with local office workers having their lunch. I was also overjoyed to see so many young people enjoying this wonderful garden.

The story behind this garden is as astonishing as the garden itself, it was created at considerable personal expense. Wendy has spent millions (of dollars) on this amazing garden. Thirty years ago Wendy started cleaning up (what was then a large patch of derelict land) that’s adjacent to her Lavender Bay home. The land is owned by the Rail Corporation. When Wendy started this garden it was covered in weeds, rumble and rubbish. Remarkably the Rail Corporation had no interest in the land and raised no objections to Wendy beautifying the area. She did this long before guerrilla gardening ever became fashionable. The public have always had free access to this wonderful garden that I’m totally in love with.

In 2009, Wendy was awarded the Medal of Order of Australia for “service to the community through the establishment and maintenance of a public garden.

I would urge everyone visiting Sydney to take a couple hours and see this joyous garden

English cottage gardens in Australia

Given how many expats live in Australia it’s hardly surprising that English cottage gardens are popular down under. However, the ones I saw were owned by Australians and South Africans. My garden it’s highly influenced by the tropical plants of my birth place Jamaica however, it’s also influenced by English cottage gardens that merges informally with dense plantings.

The plant of my Australian Odyssey was the Agapanthus (African lily) that seems to grow everyone.

Busy making plans

I’ve been busy making plans to move and change and move things around. Moving things and changing things an annual event for most gardeners and this one is no different. I’ve got a number of plans to change and develop things.  My garden is eight years old and what surprises me is that even after eight years there are still problem areas and pockets that I want to tweak. There’s also a long list of tasks that need to be done.

My garden doesn’t come into its own until late summer. Yet like a lot of people spring is my favourite time of year when everything is fresh with the gardening year is ahead of us. As we all know this summer has been very odd, but the longer I garden the more I understand that every year presents its own challenges.

No, no regrets and the National Open Garden Scheme

Last year as part of the National Open Garden Scheme 210 people visited the garden and £1,307.35 was raised for the NGS charities, which for a small London garden is an amazing figure. However, for a whole host of reasons we made the difficult decision to not open in 2016. Not opening in 2016 meant I’ve cut things back significantly more than I would normally.  I’ve also missed the sharing of a very personal space with others.

Edith Piaf – No Regrets

Mild winters

As we head towards winter I cannot return to blogging without mentioning the impact from last year’s very mild winter. We all saw the headlines “mildest winter since records began”. But what did this mean for the gardeners and gardens? Whilst I make no claim of being an expert I think we need a prolonged frost to kill bugs, which is why I think this year has been the worst year for slugs and snails. Yet the challenges and difficulties are all part of the joys of gardening.

The Garden Museum

The Garden Museum has asked me to be included in their walking tour of the gardens of Clapham. This scheme raises funds for the Garden Museum, which is a worthy cause that I’m happy to support. However, I’ve been told the people on the tour are normally consists of professional gardeners and garden designers. So I’m a bit apprehensive about what they will make of my garden as it’s the antithesis of a designed garden. In fact my garden design falls under the Christopher Lloyd school of thought that the love of strong colour that sometimes contrasts sometime not as what excites me.


Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul. Luther Burbank

Luther Burbank was born in 1869 and was a world-renowned botanist, horticulturist and pioneer in agricultural science. He developed more than 800 strains and varieties of plants over his 55-year career.

Getting ready for winter

In my garden this means one thing: protecting plants. This normally starts with my red bananas that, over winter, I place under decking in complete darkness. My larger Japanese bananas get no protection and the smaller ones are warped in horticultural fleece. The tree ferns get no projection but if it snows I’m out there in flash brushing the snow off.