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!

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Giraffes are a go go………….

Do tell. What is it about giraffes that make them suitable garden accoutrements or ornaments?

I have been to 2 flower shows recently & at each there have been ornamental giraffes on sale to adorn your garden.

Chelsea 2011 076 Malvern Spring Show

Chelsea 2011 275 Chelsea Flower Show

Do you use them as supports for climbing plants? Do they add height to your otherwise flat & boring plot? Do you use them to add a feeling of the wide African plains to your tiny London backyard?

I have absolutely no idea why anyone would want a giraffe in their garden. Do you dear reader?

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Yes, you can do it…..

….if you B & Q it!

Hooray, after his Sunday scrabble for stones at B&Q Wandsworth, Diarmud Gavin has won a Gold medal at Chelsea for his Irish Sky Garden.

I loved the greeness of it, sculpted trees, swathes of grasses & mounds of box surrounding numerous pools & a sinuous pathway leading to the glory of a petunia pink pod containing most of the flowers in the garden & from which a few chosen souls could see the garden at its best, from above whilst us mere mortals gazed open mouthed from below.

Diarmud’s gardens often cause mutterings & indeed this one has too, but I just love to see someone who is both daring & able to push the boundaries of garden design & if you can’t do it at Chelsea……

Chelsea 2011 156 Chelsea 2011 162 Chelsea 2011 163 Chelsea 2011 166But did he buy enough slate chippings?

Chelsea 2011 154

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Has he left it too late?

Stop Press

RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Today assessors visit the show gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show before judging tomorrow . Today will be the last minute polishing, vacuuming & dusting to make sure everything is in prime & pristine condition for the judging to begin.

So who was that looking rather panicky in B&Q Wandsworth this morning pushing a trolley with 10 bags of blue decorative slate & asking what time they closed tonight.Image1363Whose first card payment was not accepted?

Image1364 Can you spot him, yes it is a him, in the distance?

Image1366 Yes, you are right dear reader. It was himself, Diarmud Gavin of the controversial flying garden dashing about B&Q this morning possibly making up for shortfalls in his forward planning. Alternatively he could have finished & be moving on to his next job. What do you think?

I wanted to wish him all the best but had a feeling it may not be appreciated in the circumstances, but good luck anyway Diarmud.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

A dog’s dinner or a curate’s egg?


MrB has had the joy of commuting to Slough for the past few months; he started off training it but reverted to the more reliable motor vehicle. During his many ‘I must find the best route’ diversions he ‘discovered’ Chiswick House & gardens which we recently decided to explore.

The house & grounds have had a chequered history. The house, a palladian villa, was completed in 1729 having been designed by the then Lord Burlington & never intended as a private residence but as a showcase. The gardens were designed by William Kent & began the ‘English Landscape Movement’. The house was home to various members of the Burlington family until the late 1800’s when it fell into decline being used as a mental institution at one point. The house was sold to Middlesex Council in 1929 & became a fire station! The gardens are currently in the care of the LB Hounslow & the house is in the guardianship of English Heritage. In order to unify the management of the site the Chiswick House and Gardens Trust was set up & took over management in 2010. There has been a major restoration project carried out on the grounds so what is the result?

004005017021056It is a fine house & there is still much of the statuary & other physical features around the gardens. The latter have obviously had much money spent on them recently to restore many of the original features, some of which look superb.

043033031I know that newly planted shrubs will always look sparse until they have matured a little. 051But whilst some protection may be necessary too much & poorly maintained just makes the place look a mess.036 039 006




There were lots of ‘municipal’ fences, many of which were there to provide dog free areas for families to use. Ugly but extremely important in a park used incredibly heavily by dog owners….


…although the situation was extremely well regulated…

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The other niggles were the renovated glass-house was all closed up & orange plastic fenced off for no apparent reason, a walled area was locked with no indication of what it was or why it was shut, the beautifully shaped flower beds were just sitting empty.047   038032

So all in all I would say that, just like this blog, the gardens were a total mish-mash, trying to re-create what was obviously a very important garden to something of its former glory whilst having to cope with dogs, children & dogs. There is no doubt it is an enormously valuable & popular local resource but if you are looking to bask in the history of the place, beware. It will improve as planting matures but I think the conflict between its historical importance & current usage will always result in a less than satisfactory situation.