“You open the door to a garden as you would open the first page of a new book, Thierry & Monique Dronet
Update on last year’s opening. We had record number of visitors. Over 240 people visited the garden and we rose just over £1,500 for the NGS Charities
We are delighted to be opening (again) for the NGS (National Open Garden Scheme) in 2019.
35 Turret Grove, Clapham Old Town, SW4 0ES
Teas, Pimms, Cakes & Plants for sale
All monies raised goes to the National Garden Scheme charities
Recycled glass sculpture by www.steveyeates.co.uk
For many the 4th of July was American Independence Day. But for us it was the day we opened the garden as part of the Garden Museum 2017 walking tours of Clapham gardens that raises funds to support the museum.
The tour of Clapham explored seven urban gardens that are owned by amateur gardeners, artists, architects, professional designers, garden writers and bloggers and community volunteers and range in size from tiny to the generous town gardens. As much as I’m looking forward to welcoming this group of 30 I had concerns because I understood a large number of them are professional gardeners and garden designers. But I needn’t had worried as they loved the garden and it was a joy sharing it with them.
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.
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
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 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.
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.
Three years ago I had a wonderful lighting system installed which has added so much joy to the garden. I can now enjoy my garden after dark. But on New Year Day a slug found its way into the junction box and fused the system which meant the year started with a huge bill. This has been the first major problem with the lighting system because I invested in a really good system as quality pays. I’ve had cheaper lights and they were more trouble than they’re worth. Besides, where water and electricity have to mix, we all want peace of mind. This year’s must haves are some very stylist rechargeable table lamps that I spotted in Italy.
Sitting quietly, doing nothing, spring comes, and the grass grows by itself
The Gospel According To Zen
Like lots of city gardeners I persist with having a small lawn. Yet I often ask myself why because it’s the most troublesome thing that causes me the most anguish. Maybe it’s the memories of yesteryear and anticipation of new memories that lay ahead running, laying and walking on the blades of glory that makes me keep a lawn in a tiny London garden.
We kissed the lovely grass, Rupert Brooke
After months of panic the open garden has been and gone. Luckily the weather forecast of continuous heavy rain was wrong and the weather was perfect. The day started with light rain which gave the garden the look of summer freshness. My day started with putting up last minute posters. As the sun came out the stage was set and the garden looked superb.
My wonderfully generous army of helpers worked diligently with keeping everyone fed, watered and dealing with the mishaps. Without these wonderful people there would be no open garden. Somehow it doesn’t seem right that as they worked I basked in the glory.
The feedback has been tremendously kind as people have said such nice things about the garden and our hospitality. We had our best ever turnout. 210 people visited the garden and we raised £1,307.35 for the NGS charities, which for a tiny London garden is a fantastic figure. This year’s most FAQ was about the watering which as it’s been so dry wasn’t that surprising. This year’s most surprising question however, was the number of people who asked if I worked. Do I look like someone who should be retired?
To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul, Alfred Austin