About Me

My photo
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!

Friday, 25 March 2011


Image0610 We have an allotment, well 2 in fact. We have had them for quite a few years now & they are tended assiduously by the very dear MrB with, sadly, very little input from me. The burden of guilt is heavy.

The site has worked well for years; we have water in dip tanks & taps, the council cut the main grass paths & take the rubbish away & every now & then heaps of stable manure are delivered.

The site has 2 entrances, one for vehicles is on a main road & near a large junction & consequently not easy to drive into. The second, pedestrian entrance gives access to a large cemetery. A number of allotment holders, us included drive through the cemetery & park close to that gate. This has been going on for many years.

2 recent developments;

  • The council want to hand the management of the site over to the allotment holders; part of its money saving measures. At present consultation is minimal; we don’t have an allotment association or any fancy stuff like that. I understand the ‘threat’ is that rents will double if the council cuntinue the management of the site.
  • They are going to close the gate from the cemetery.

All this is very interesting & no doubt very boring for you dear reader, but what has really made me laugh about the whole thing is the language of the council member of staff with whom MrB has been corresponding. I have been close to hysterics over his mangling of the English language:

  “Furthermore, we are not satisfied that all use of the gate in question is absolutely necessary and are concerned that, increasingly, vehicles are driving through the cemetery that are not on business that is directly related to it. In other words, some are simply using it because it is there and they are not being challenged.”

“I am sure that you will be aware of the Council's grave funding problems”

“In the long term our priority is the security of the cemetery and the future cemetery gate closing arrangements will not necessarily be overly accommodating to allotment holders who remain on site late into the evening and so using the main and proper allotment gate will be a good habit for tenants to adopt henceforth.”

Why use 1 word when at least 10 will do! Was the ‘grave funding’ a joke? Probably not as I suspect he has had a sense of humour by-pass!


Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Capability Brown swings…..


….and slides and has a climbing frame.

I am talking about my local park here, just a couple of streets away, loved by many local & not so local families for its play areas, bowling green, lake, Sunday football, athletics track, wooded area, tennis courts, cafe & perhaps not so loved when it is used for car parking during Wimbledon fortnight. It is used by many different groups of people all year & although the planting & landscaping are nothing to write home about it is green & a fantastic leisure facility.

I frequently walk through the park to work & took the photos last year 

So dear reader, where does Capability Brown fit into this I can hear you shouting ? I hope you are still there? I can’t keep talking to myself now can I?

Well, a history lesson here. The original park comprised the grounds of Wimbledon Park House, the seat of the manor of Wimbledon. A number of different owners had enlarged the park & by the 19th century it was at its largest extent, and one of the homes of the Earls Spencer, lords of the manor.

It was the 1st Earl Spencer, was only 12 years old when he inherited the title, who carried out many ‘good works’ toward Wimbledon Park. And it was he who  commissioned Capability Brown in 1765 to turn the Wimbledon Park valley from being semi-marshland into a grassy parkland populated by oaks with its main feature being a sizable lake by constructing a dam across a brook that flows from near Wimbledon Common down to the River Wandle.

In 1846, the 4th Earl Spencer sold the estate and house to John Augustus Beaumont a property developer who laid out new roads and sold plots of land for house building.  Development of the area continued throughout the second half of the 19th century, gradually nibbling away at the parkland resulting in the park as it is today with it’s adjacent area of housing, also known as Wimbledon Park.

The modern park was bought by the Borough of Wimbledon just before the First World War and is now the only remnant of that former, larger park.

Just beside the lake there has always been a sad bit of a waterfall, a remnant of the original design but never working.This is what it looked like after a clean-up.Waterfall02

Recently however there have been developments!



071076 What do you think? What would Capability Brown have thought?

I think it certainly has the potential to be an attractive addition to the park but my concern is the ability to keep the area looking attractive & allow the plants to mature & fill out. Although I am an optimist I can only see children running & cycling over the beds as well as the paths & climbing on the logs at the edge. Merton Council is not among the most well off of London Boroughs & like all others is having to make financial cut-backs. There was recently a proposal that they would not lock any of their parks overnight in order to save money. That is no longer the case but indicates  the severity of the problem.

We will see……….

***The crocuses at the top are not from Wimbledon Park but Wisley a couple of weeks ago!