Sunday, 5 June 2011

Spirit houses, wet Astelias and a belly full of cake

I have just come back from three local open gardens, and have rather over indulged on cake..hats off to the persuasive lady selling cake at Piedmont garden as we bought 4, I then ate a spare one offered by a friendly lady whom I was sheltering from the rain under an umbrella with (note to children: don’t eat cake offered to you by strangers, note to self: moment on the lips, years on the hips)
I’m very excited this weekend to have finished a Balinese style spirit house/shrine which I thought up about 6 months ago when I saw an abandoned Islamic style table abandoned at the side of the road. I cut off one of the legs, Stu created a frame for me, I then dithered and got stuck on the roof for a few months and finally (hopefully) cracked it with a frame made of old trellis and fencing, and an under thatch of palm and tree fern leaves. I’m rather pleased with it as it has livened up a dull corner where nothing grew and added greatly to the feel of the garden. So much of tropical gardens are theatre and I think this is just right!
Now the spirits can have a place to party
Gardens wise the first we went to was 174 Peckham Rye...smaller than expected but immaculately planted with lots of plants I liked. Golden hop was climbing a summer house, and Astelias and Puyas were doing well in the beds. I particularly liked an established stand of Podophyllum and a pot with some big leafed hostas in. Good plant sales and I snapped up 2 Astelias which I was pleased with, till I realised that they were a little heavy and I needed to cart them around all afternoon.
Immaculate planting, and planted out Puya

A podophyllum party

The second garden was just up the road in Piedmont gardens, which was one of the best I have seen so far. Very friendly helpers abounded (see above about cake lady making me fat) and it was also the garden of our local NGS organiser who was a pleasure to meet. Long L shaped garden which opened out to at the end to a big circular lawn and path with a little banana dell and productive beds. You can tell the difference between gardens that have been designed and those that are evolving and cared for by people who love plants as it felt very alive with pots and stuff everywhere, much more my type of place.

I do like a nice bit of bunting...hiding at the back in a banana dell

It was getting a bit wet by then, and I should have taken more pictures of this beautiful agrden but i was getting a bit cake focused 
Finally we went to Choumert Square, somewhere I had heard about but not yet been to. I knew that in essence it was 2 terraces of small houses whose very small yards backed onto each other with a central walkway but was blown away at how nice it was. All the gardens and houses were special and there was a great sense of community. It was a bit like a modern day Barbary lane (Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin) loads of happy people all doing different things from selling Pimms to tombola’s, reflexology and my favourites which were ‘which celebrity is the same height as you’ and ‘talk to an old man for 20p’
A very wet and slightly grumpy Steven

This is basically it, a long strip between the houses covered in gardens , but very pretty...small trees and arches between neighbours. Bad place to move to if you werent a gardender

Who would have thought Peckham had such a beautiful spot
Great gardens, and also great to meet some interesting characters on route: met lovely group of artists, was asked tentatively by an old man'but why do you come to these gardens?' and then accosted by an old lady in Choumert who wanted to know if we knew where we were). It is making September seem sooner and they were a little intimidating!


  1. Is Steven a fairweather gardener or not a gardener at all?

  2. I think that the balence of gardening passion firmly falls on my side as I dont think he would say he is a gardener, but interested and helping!