Monday, 6 September 2021
Thursday, 5 August 2021
Come and visit our exotic garden in Camberwell!
Our opening is almost upon us! Unless things with Covid-19 radically change, this year you can just turn up as normal and pay on the door, you do not have to buy a timed slot like last year. We are also opening for a bit longer, and will open earlier at 11am and close at 4:30pm.
The NGS says:
An exotic garden full of the
exuberance of late summer inspired by travel in Southeast Asia. A lush and
naturalistic jungle of big leafed plants, bold colours and shapes including
cannas, bananas, Bamboos, dahlias, mature tetrapanax and towering paulownias.
Huge ‘hidden’ garden, created from being able to buy the bottom half of two of the neighbour’s gardens in 2010 gives the garden an unexpected size. Three two ponds (one for wildlife and two with fish), a productive area and contemporary sunken terrace full of pampered prized plants.
We deliver on the 'wow' factor with visitors being surprised by the scale of the garden and getting lost in the exotica. The garden changes and improves every year as the plants grow bigger and the feel gets 'junglier'.
Since first opening for the NGS in 2011 the garden has changed radically. At that time the top garden was still new and being cleared. Planting was mostly annuals and pumpkins! It took a year to clear the rubble, brambles and hops. We filled 5 skips with rubble and broke 20 spades and forks digging the land. Many visitors have kept coming back to see the transformation!
The lower lawn, lots of seating and hidden corners give space to sit and enjoy. Renowned for good teas and home-made cakes.
Last admission 4:30pm
Featured on BBC Gardeners World, BBC Instant Gardener, Garden News, Independent and Simple Things magazine
The nearest train stations are Peckham Rye or Denmark Hill. If you are driving there is lots of street parking on our road. The full postcode is SE5 8LH. Check your satnav/phone is directing you to Grove Park as sometimes it can take you to the back of the house!
Wednesday, 14 July 2021
|Musa sikkimensis which was cut down the ground in the winter has regrown from the roots and is now about 6ft|
|Ganesh flanked by some fab big begonia|
|'Burning embers' marigold is back, and a few have escaped from the slugs|
|Zantedeschia albomaculata, by far the best Calla lily as the other two I have are still looking ropey|
|This was where I used to keep the bees and has been a witner project to revamp. It is now a seating area and new beds as it has this great view of the garden|
|The Echiums are the biggest that they have ever been! I think it is as these ones are all triannuals|
|Hydrangea macrophylla which has great exotic leaves|
|I am trying out a few penstemons for flower....the Jury is still out!|
|Area where there used to be the chery tree and Loquat which has created a much more usable bed, the garden is also so much more open!|
|So fab that the exotica is coming back!|
|Another project to create some staging for many of the random pots of plants that I like but don't really fit anywhere else...|
|The terrace looking very lush and filling out more every week...|
|Romneya which I actually dug out last year, but it has suckered and clung on in a slightly better place. Fab plant when in flower wih these HUGE flowers, but ropey and a big plant when not flowering|
Thursday, 15 April 2021
This week we received the National Gardens Scheme fabled ‘golden trowel’ which is given to people who have opened their garden for 10 years. We now need to do another 10 to get the matching fork….
|Me with the engraved trowel which has now been mounted on a plaque!|
We wanted our 10th opening to be memorable, and we got what we wanted with it being in the middle of the pandemic! The timed entry and longer hours actually made it one of our best ever openings as everyone was just so happy to be able to be out, eat cake and buy plants!
In total we have now made over £16,000 for NGS charities, and had over 2200 visitors. Our open day has turned into one of the big highlights of the year. It is a great way to bring people together, and very easy to make money for charity. I am very lucky that so many people want to help out, from my parents who do so much, to those who help on the day with the refreshments and plant sales.
It was kind of an accident that we agreed to open the garden. The NGS had always been on my radar as, but it was not something for the immediate future. It only happened when my neighbour, who was opening for NGS, mentioned to the formidable NGS volunteer who was visiting him that I may be interested in opening that I received an on-the-spot visit and inspection and acceptance! At that time the garden was fairly embryonic and we hadn’t any idea that we would be buying the derelict land adjacent to our garden within 6 months. This make a smallish job into one that was bigger than we had possibly imagined!
The terror of preparing for our NGS opening along with the huge task of clearing the land and creating a garden was what led to this blog.
I also volunteer with the NGS helping to look after other garden openers in my area. Working full time, and with a garden that is a very demanding mistress has been a challenge, and I know I have not had as much time for this as I would have hoped. However, this role and opening the garden has given me a great insight into the NGS world and I have met some marvellous people and friends. The gardening world is full of good eggs! There are also lots of random things that have happened as a result of ‘being in the book’ such as filming Gardeners World with Carol Klein, The Instant Gardener, magazines and even some random artists using the garden for a photoshoot.
Don’t get me wrong, opening is still a stress…as it draws closer so does the frenzied weeding and watering, often late into the evening. But, every year it is easier and I now don’t wake up in the night in a sweat about how much to charge for tea and cake and how acceptable Styrofoam cups are. I have also come to accept a certain element of que sera as you can’t control the weather, and some years plants are early/late or eaten by slugs!
The opening days themselves have always been a lot of fun….it has become a ritual for all our helpers to have lunch on the lawn before we open and put bets on how many people would come. Afterwards, when the doors are shut we then open the wine and see who was right…
Every year we are always amazed at how many people come, and it is lovely to see how many people come back. In a way it is a bit like a party! I love it!
So, thank you to everyone who has come, and everyone who is part of the NGS and makes it the great thing it is. For those of you with great gardens and who are vaguely thinking about opening get in touch and do it!!
Friday, 27 November 2020
I haven’t been looking forward to winter….with Coivd it was always inevitable that things would be grim and this is my least favourite season.
For the whole year the garden has been a lifesaver. I currently work from home 3-4 days per week, and having ants in my pants I am frequently up having a break walking around the garden. Being here so much I have taken a lot of pleasure from noticing all the small changes as things grow and start flowering.
Having an exotic garden, and opening for the NGS puts all the focus on having things look amazing at the height of summer. It is very easy to just stop after the garden opening and put your feet up. In some year’s I have been so lazy that arrows and odd bits of signage from the opening have remained…slowly decomposing, Miss Havisham style.
I have been trying to shift the focus away from just being about summer so that the winter and spring isn’t just a raft of empty space and dying plants. Part of this has been taking more care of and propagating hardy evergreens to keep the terrace looking good. To do this I have been dividing up a great Aspidistra that came from Crug and has elegant leaves speckled with white specs, this is a elegant filler.
This year I also bought 900 bulbs, way more than usual, but I figure I will be home more and need a spring lift! Most have gone into pots in the hope that the squirrels don’t eat them all! I also got an additional 250 Tete a tete daffodils which we have planted out around the tree bases on my road which I am excited to see come up and turn the road yellow!
Other stars on the terrace include the ‘Hercules’ arum that is stunningly big and exotic. The big Musa sikkimensis and Helens Hybrids are still looking their banana tree thing, and I am giving it a go leaving a Strelitzia out.
Inside I have had a slight terrarium obsession, which has opened up a whole new world of plants! The love of flag Iris’s also continues and I have enjoyed a brief, all encompassing, and expensive affair with Cedric Morris iris’.
In terms of the winter prep the big thing that I do is dig up the red bananas. These have their leaves removed and roots cut back to the basal plate. They are then left to drain upside down for a week or so before being stored in a frost-free outside cupboard. They are now all up to 8?yrs old and getting heavy! I used to be a lot more prissy about cutting off/tidying up most off a lot of the outside leaves, but I now leave as many as a can as I think this helps prevent them becoming too dehydrated when they come out of storage in spring.
We also put up a temporary plastic greenhouse on our sunken terrace, with an extra layer of bubble wrap. This is all super sheltered and sits against a retaining wall. In it go all the Cyathea tree ferns, although the C. medularis is now almost too big to fit in! I will need to be brave next year leaving it out. Also in go the fuchsias, brugmansias, and Begonia luxurians. Wet is the killer, so most things now sit on bricks. Ironically you also need to watch the dry as the tree ferns dry out really quickly…I have lost more to drought that the cold.
This weekend beings the winter prep to an end, and leaves the garden looking satisfyingly good and attractive. As of 23rd November we still haven’t had any frosts at all in our bit of South London, although I am sure that they are just around the corner.
|Keeping the Aspidistra flying!|