Sunday 16 January 2011

My name in lights...

Well the day has finally come in that the open garden info is now live, I saw it on the internet and everything. Oddly this makes it more real and closer. With 2011 comes a psychological switch where rather than things ending, I feel more like things are gearing up and raring to go....On Victoria’s blog I also saw she has planted Coleus seeds which I thought a little early, but perhaps I will start stuff off too, my office windowsill could have lots of seedlings on it
Somehow other people knew who was going to have an open garden ages ago as I was very flattered, and amused, when I was personally written to by the Dulwich garden society asking if I wanted to be in their book of open gardens. Immediately I wondered how the garden would be passed off as Dulwich (badlands of East Dulwich perhaps) but I will be in their book too and look forward to welcoming Dulwich folk.
I had thought this would be a quiet month (apart from digging every weekend) but in the last week I have discovered that lots of nurseries have big discounts for January only, and so I have been doing lots of deliberating...In particular over bamboo because do you buy from the nursery with the 10litre pots for £30-35 or the 5l pots for 12.50. I think with bamboo the key thing is are they from a division (giving big plants quickly) or are they young plants being grown up. I was all ready to drive off to the Palm Centre yesterday to buy lots but have decided to go for the smaller plants options as instead of buying 3 plants from them, I can get 8 plants online which will really help fill the gaps however they will take ages to get big....the decisions! I have also just ordered my seeds for the year, I had to double check when I had finished and saw I ordered 34 packets....

Monster bamboos (and a nice Hydrangea aspera macrophylla) at Radlett Avenue

Bamboos were making me think of the best open garden I saw last year which was Radlett Avenue, Forest Hill. They have an amazing garden which is on different levels with lots of water flowing all around. I loved how when you went in you went on a little path up a bank and through a dense planting of bamboos...It was all so thick and lush. I never realised that bamboo could get so thick in the UK. When I was growing up and first crazy about plants my friend Peter and I used to go to his house in the Dordogne and get very excited about the clumps of bananas growing everywhere and this very tall thick bamboo. Oddly I think I had written off the bananas as being far too tender, but we were all ready to go out at night and dig up the bamboos and bring them back to the UK.
Lush plantings, bamboo path was up a mound to the right

I still dream about the Radlett road garden, and the new territories has lots of scope to try out things like those that they have and let bamboos go crazy. The most amusing open garden I have seen (which I don’t dream about) was a garden open for the Camberwell Open Gardens Scheme...there were lots of great gardens featured, and we were interested to wander down and see this one garden open in the middle of an estate. We drew closer and went through the back gate to see a smiling lady sitting in a deckchair in the middle of a 5m square garden of grass with a Leylandii. Mmmm. Not something to write home about, and boy did she get the horticultural glitterati of Camberwell talking, but she was very content which I guess is what it’s all about.


  1. Congratulations Clive on making it on the NGS book! You've got that now to keep you motivated in getting stuck, making sure everythings ready for the open day.

    The photo you posted of the garden at Radlett Avenue is amazing, just love it and my sort of planting too.

    We're hoping to make it on a few open days, maybe even pop round and see your if we're free that day. Goodluck, you guys are doing something really good :)

  2. thanks! you are very welcome to pop by if you find yourselves in South London over summer