London Flat Garden - 2004

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Here is what the garden looked like before I began ... this was in early May.

Much of the garden is north facing which is a bit of a challenge. I also had a budget and the closest Home Base is in Earls Court. About a 20-30 minute bus ride, and then a 10 minute walk. I could get good prices there, but we had to carry things back home on the bus and walk another 10 minutes to the flat. I'd say we made at least 4 trips on various days. We found that we could carry about 50 pounds, (money, not weight), worth of plants home each time. You know how closely I like to plant...

This (above) is the sunniest area of the garden, and also where I had the most control of the water. My only hope for some part-sun perennials.


This area of the garden gets almost no sunlight, it is also very damp. Due in part to poor drainage. Therefore this area was an extreme challenge. I knew that any plants put directly into the soil would stand an excellent chance of root rot. This is the area now dubbed "Fagan's Grotto".

The very back portion of the garden you can seen in this photo. It is still a work in progress. We have decided on white standard (tree), roses across the back of the two beds, (the beds behind the rose trees in the pots), I think lavender between them would be lovely. Then we are going to do a modified knot garden sort of thing with boxwood and other "carvable" shrubs.


Another view of my one hope for sun. This is an "L" shaped bed. Which was nice because I couldn't be expected to keep the garden symmetrical, which would have been impossible considering "the grotto".


This is looking back onto the house, from the rear of the garden. Our flat is the area painted in white.


This is "Fagan's Grotto". I planted ferns directly into the soil because I knew they'd thrive in the boggy conditions. I had to get some vertical interest going on and color in an area of almost total shade.


I planted fuschia trees in pots, along with tuberous begonias and a New Guinea impatien. I placed a previously unused window box in front, because again, I could control the water. Which was also the reason for putting the other plants in pots. Of course, the pots were not weathered so I had to paint and distress them so they looked like they belonged in a proper English garden. I also planted and hung a hanging basket from the magnolia tree above. It really does look very "grottoish". This was after about a month.


Here is the beginning of my "sunny" border. I tried to use as many perennials as possible - so something that will come up if I'm not here. This was after about a month of growing.


This is the "L" of the "L" shaped garden. The gate leads to our flat.


More of the same.


Here is the grotto now. The plaque we got at the Chelsea Flower show.


Here is something I never dreamed I would get! An arbor. Not just any sorry old arbor, but a "one off" piece. Giusseppe Lund who built the Queen's Gates at Hyde Park to commemorate the Queen Mum's Birthday is the artist. He is in the picture welding it together. It is lovely and we will be planting David Austin roses to ramble up it. Although we can't get the rose we want until fall. It is a tiny white rambler called Paul's Himalayan Musk. We saw it at the Chelsea Flower show.


This is the garden all ready for the "Doggy Charity BBQ" we had for Sooty, (the dog's), friend Gaia. It was to raise money for guide dogs. Gaia adores dogs and the guide dog program here is given no money from the government. She raised about 400 pounds. There were about 40 people here, 10 being girls around 10-11 years old. It was great fun. Gaia's dad is a chef at a posh restaurant in Knightsbridge. Luckily he did all the food.


Here are recent pictures of the garden. The lilies are about 5 feet tall. Christy did not want any yellow or orange flower in the garden, but yet some rogue orange lilies turned up.


This is looking towards the house through the arbor.


Looking back.


It is a happy garden.