About Me

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SW London
A semi-mature, hardy individual who tries to get away with doing as little as possible in gardening as in life, still expects the best results & wonders why she is frequently disappointed! She likes to keep a photographic record of everything, good & frequently bad!

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Little & Large


Did you ever have those exam questions, ‘Contrast & compare….’ This is what I thought on Sunday when I travelled many miles, well a couple, to visit 2 Yellow Book Gardens. Have I told you that being nosy in other people’s gardens is one of my favourite occupations on a sunny Sunday? Well it is. Even better on one such visit was when we had to walk through the house to get to the garden – double whammy! It got even better when instead of tea we got an extremely generous slug of Pimms. But I digress slightly.

So, this weekend’s garden no.1 was a huge house, very close to Wimbledon Common. The garden had been designed 2 years ago by Andrew Wilson, RHS Chief Assessor among other things apparently. It was a large garden to match the large house with a sweep of beautiful grass & areas of planting divided by yew hedges (bought & planted by the metre). A lovely pond which according to my companion could do with some fish, expensive tasteful paving & matching planters.

DSCN0987 DSCN0973 DSCN0970 DSCN0974 DSCN0986 DSCN0980DSCN0983My feeling about this garden was a beautiful design which was let down by the planting. The latter may have suffered due to the weather & the grasses will no doubt look wonderful later but to me it lacked texture & anything with a bit of wow factor – overall rather soulless.

Garden 2 couldn’t be much different. A small patch backing onto a railway line at the other side of Wimbledon. The outside doesn’t look promising dominated by neighbouring blocks of council flats.

DSCN0989 Inside the gate is a beautifully planted little front garden, down the side of the house…DSCN0991 …to an eclectic plant-filled oasis. It would have been a complete surprise if I hadn’t been there twice before!

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DSCN1003 DSCN1007 DSCN1006 DSCN1014 Here is a train!DSCN1009The garden is totally private, lots of seating areas despite its size, nooks & crannies abound, fantastic pots full of shade lovers, particularly beautiful were the Japanese painted ferns.DSCN1011 The white wisteria was just finishing but must have been glorious.

Do you get the idea that I much preferred this one? Well done, you are correct. Part of it must be the fact that I too have a tiny garden which is crammed full of plants & which needs lots of trimming to keep it under some sort of vague control. But this garden also spoke volumes about the ‘designer'/gardener’. She is a set designer which I am sure is some help in her vision, but it is full of personality, down to the storage area at the back…

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Whatever the type of garden, I really do admire anyone who opens theirs for the picky public to paw over. I always like to think that mine would be good enough………if I could be bothered…….if MrB wouldn’t refuse….. if there was more of interest….

The poppy at the top is mine!


  1. I would probably have gone for the second as well, I do find some designed gardens lacking in personality - a risky thing to say I know. I prefer gardens which have evolved with the owner, far more personality

  2. H Ms B, I enjoyed bumping into you at the first garden and have to agree that the planting was rather without excitement, however the excellent tea made up for it! I did love the tree planted in that huge rounded planter though!

  3. Dear Ms B,

    I have enjoyed your commentary on these two very different gardens and can well see why you prefer the second. It is, in my view, all about soul and passion when distinguishing between the great and the commonplace.However, as you say, any garden owner who is prepared to open his or her garden to public scrutiny is deserving of our appreciation.

    I have signed myself up as a 'Follower' in order not to miss any future musings.

  4. Patient gardener, you have very good taste, asindeed you all do!
    Gardenlife, it was enjoyable bumping into you too; couldn't manage as much cake, sorry, as many gardens as you though!
    Edith Hope, thanks so much. I look forward to joining me on my musings!

  5. How funny! I'm not surprised you thought I'd been plagiarising. It's a wonder I didn't bump into you. Interesting - and rather reassuring - that we both had exactly the same response.
    The other thing I liked about Karen was that she was interested in the visitors and their questions. Some NGS owners make you feel as if they're doing you a favour by letting you in (which I suppose they are in a way). I'd like to think I make people feel as if they're doing me a favour by coming!
    I've been so busy recently I haven't had much time to read anyone else's blog. I shall add yours to my list pdq.