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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, 22 July 2010

Chelsea to SW19 via Ikea & the Peak District

Peak Ditrict holiday July 2010 018

I think I must have, no, I know I have serious delusions of gardening grandeur; last year enthused by a garden at Hampton Court I dug up & re-planted one area of the garden & this year I have moved on to do my Chelsea thing.

I know dear reader, the show gardens are supposed to inspire us amongst other things, but when you have a pocket handkerchief sized garden there is surely a serious limit on the amount of inspiration that it can handle.

My problem was this; I am also a serious plantaholic & just cannot resist buying plants at almost every opportunity. This, coupled with the size of the garden has meant that over the years clear areas have gradually been eroded to be filled with as much plant life as I can cram in. My daughter constantly moans that we even planted a tree in the middle of the already teensy lawn so she cannot gracefully drape herself over it, scantily clad of course, during the warm heady days of summer. Now, where was I? Oh yes, plants, loads of them. The result is that the garden is very busy & frequently, due to my rather lackadaisical attitude, rather overgrown. I needed to try to simplify & calm down one or 2 areas. I would start with the small bed nearest the doors, reduce the varieties of plants used to a minimum, but then needed inspiration……it came after this years Chelsea visit.

Chelsea Flower Show 2010 081

I loved these clouds of box in the Laurent-Perrier garden designed by Tom Stuart-Smith & whilst I was musing on my little problem it came to me that I could have my own version of box clouds. This would produce a calm yet sculptural element to the garden. This was the way forward.

I had decided but I thought I had better consult other parties involved, namely MrB. Initially he was rather dubious but eventually he was persuaded by my obvious design talents & as is usual, threw himself into the problem of sourcing material with great gusto. Now box balls are quite pricey & even the relatively small number & size that we wanted was going to cost more than a couple of quid. But before I had even planned the numbers & sizes needed the intrepid MrB came home from a trip to Ikea with 2x30cm box balls for the extremely reasonable price of £10 each. Result! (Don’t tell me that small children worked for weeks in appalling conditions & were paid a few pence to help their starving families to produce these because I don’t really want to know.) We had to return to said store & hoped they still had the balls; sadly they did not but they did have some larger untrained plants for a similarly reasonable price. They would do & we could do our own trimming & training so 2 of those were purchased. The final 3 smaller untrimmed plants were bought whilst we were on holiday in the Peak District; well it’s cheaper up North isn’t it. So, we were ready for off.

The first bit of planting was done yesterday &  I got rather excited, probably over-excited about how good it looked already. What do you think?

009 This is not the whole area of course, it is a work in progress. No doubt later blogs will keep you up-dated on what is happening. I should probably produce a progress report on the Hampton Court bed too! I’ll bet you can’t wait!


  1. Ha ha! I thought you wrote that you had bought 230 box balls! Very creative of you. I have one large box plant which is probably the only thing left in the garden that we inherited from previous owners. It looks like a giant misshapen mushroom. Anyway I'm now thinking of ripping out all the lovely shrubs around it and just planting box balls to achieve a Chelsea effect

  2. I really love that. I am doing a kind of cloud box hedge/edge all around my borders, sort of along the same lines. But mine were all purchased from a short-sighted women's fairtrade co-operative in Kuala Lumpur at a very reasonable £120 each.

  3. Dear MsB, Discipline! Discipline and more discipline! This is, in my view, unlikely to be shared by many others, what maketh a good garden. Box clouds, box waves, box balls - one can never have too many. BUT, one can have too many perennials and annuals of different species dotted throughout the garden giving the effect of 'Dolly Mixture' in a sweet shop.

  4. Ha ha! Edith! 'Dolly Mixture' is exactly what annoys me about my garden.. I will never be able to look at it without seeing the sweeties

  5. but dolly mixture has it's merits too.
    maybe not tasteful but it's tasty,full of surprises and treats.
    what cute box marshmallows :o)

  6. I like it! Bit of a clipped box fan too; although have to actually clip some of the specimens in my garden before they get too out of hand. I have also vowed never to buy just one plant anymore; if I'm having it, I have to buy three or non at all! My other problem is that if I do buy something new, something old has to be ripped out; and I don't like doing that...I've told my husband we need to move to a house with a bigger garden, but no luck yet.

  7. I love stories like this because I secretly rather like Ikea. I also love box balls, but I agree they are eye-wateringly expensive. I got some of mine half-price from Homebase.

  8. Thanks for your comments.
    Arabella, we have 2 things left in our garden from it's existence before us; a weigela & a viburnum tinus. I would rather have your box any day.
    Lia, right on.
    Edith, oh dear, discipline is just not my strong point. I know all the theory but at the end of the day I love a good smattering of dolly mixtures.
    I see you understand Katya.

    If plants are sold in smaller pots I will buy 3 Sharon, or try to split a big one but, you know, just 1 of something to see how it goes..

    Victoria, Ikea is brilliant providing you go at the right time of day. Careful planning.