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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!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

We have been de-swagged

Rosa banksiae lutea 

When I designed/re-designed our garden some 12 years ago after some building work I was keen to try out some of the lessons & (possible) skills I had learnt from an  Open College of the Arts Garden Design Course. I had a great time measuring up, producing scale plans & axonometric drawings. What was I trying to do?

One aim was to delineate &  emphasise different areas in the garden in some way despite it being the size of a pocket handkerchief.** A ‘garden of rooms’ was not really feasible but I hoped to do something a little creative. I also wanted  some changes of height within the space for added interest, additional growing space & to increase the feeling of privacy. Based on what we had seen at places like Wisley I decided a few posts at appropriate points round the lawn with swags of rope between was the way to go.

I had visions of the rope swathed in frothy masses of roses with clematis clambering between the stems…..it did work, well sort of, but I can’t find much in the way of photos to demonstrate, in fact I can only find a few pictures that show the posts & ropes. These give a bit of an idea.

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One problem was the roses; despite some investigation & research 2 of the roses were really far too vigorous for the position they were in, at least they were in a small garden where a pathway went past the posts in question. The journey to the greenhouse or compost bin  was one of much ducking & diving. One was removed a few years ago & replaced with a Trachelospermum jasminoides. We also discovered that the rope shrank or stretched depending upon the weather; more ducking!

Recently the posts began to lean more & more & one post was very obviously rotten at the bottom & the rope was rotting too; replacement was the only way to go, but how to do it without disturbing everything round the bottom of the posts. I am very lucky, MrB, just like my dad, is a very practical person & had soon resolved the problem, ordered the ingredients & away he went.

The posts were replaced by smaller ones so they could go in the original holes without disturbing any plants nearby & the same sized wooden horizontals go between the posts to help keep them rigid & upright. No more sagging ropes!

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It’s done. A little harsh at the moment but it will soon be covered in greenery. Not the frothy rope swags I had originally planned, but the end result has the right effect.


**Are there other sorts of handkerchief I wonder.


  1. oh I think that looks fab and brave - it reminds me of a sculpture at one of last year's chelsea gardens (or maybe the year before). I feel quite inspired by it and am glad you told about your swags as I have considered them from time to time

  2. I am delighted if I have inspired you! I do think I got the idea right but sometimes the execution of it fails a little. We had 12 reasonably happy years together!

  3. You could call it a perg without the ola ;)

    A very neat solution to the problem - they've done something similar at the Abbey Gardens near me, so once again you're showing impeccable taste Ms B!

  4. VP, if you could give me examples of other occasions I have demonstrated impeccable taste..... I suppose it is a 1 sided pergola, but to be honest i would rather have the ola than the perg!

    1. The answers right in front of you - what did you produce at Highgrove...

  5. I prefer them without the paint! (Love little LT)

  6. Little LT, you weren't here to add your two-pennorth so tough! Anyway, it matches everything else. Go paint!

  7. I don't like how you can tell me off, even on your blog....