Friday, 24 May 2013

My 100th blogpost: special anniversary edition!

Well, 2 1/2 years on and I have got to my 100th blog post, hurrah!

I started the blog in Christmas 2010 which was a time when we had just got accepted into the fabled 'Yellow book' of the National Garden Scheme and also taken on a huge new garden project from buying a huge (for London!) derelict piece of land. The blog was a way of recording and sharing how things developed.

As with many things in life I don't think I could have predicted how things would go, however the one thing I do know is that the world of plants and the people that inhabit it are rather wonderful. I have had adventures visiting different gardens, bought far too many plants, killed more than I will admit and met some fabulous people including fellow bloggers and a brush with TV.

This anniversary special looks back over the highlights...

I think this sums up about a year and a half of work before opening for the first time...eek! The NGS is a fabulous world and I don't regret opening however there was a lot of stress in that first year from the pressures of good horticulture to how much to charge for teas and how many Victoria sponges to bake

The new territories before we started looking lush and verdant, hiding the masses of rubble and took a long time to clear but we had some fabulous fires and broke about 20 forks and spades  

Mid isn't quite this big as it is before the new fence went up (back half is the neighbours) the huge pile of debris to the right is hop roots which riddled the site with giant Dr Who evil monster style roots

 Older picture of the lower garden in 2006/7 just before we moved in when the garden was pretty trashed..
 Early developments with the newly turfed lawn which I have been trying to reclaim ever since ;) it was a typical low input garden with a rectangular lawn and strip beds round the edge. The soil is about 1ft ok earth then a layer of crockery and oyster shells before solid London clay...
The lower garden developed faster than the top....this is an early bit of tropical exuberance

 I dread to think how many bricks we pulled out the top. We had 5 big skips and have reused all usable bricks...

The layout evolved organically, weed proof membrane trying to stop the bramble and hops

Hurrah for friends who helped!

The lower pond with its big Tetrapanax and banana

 Balinese shrine....I think Balinese and Thai gardens are probably my biggest inspirations for the garden

The slugs were a little against our first opening

Hurrah, the garden at its peak on our first NGS opening
 Ganesh, welcoming visitors to the top

The hired help trying not to scare visitors away
 Steven and Mum running the kitchen....NGS has spurred a whole new era of baking!
People! saying nice things! Overall despite the initially rainy weather the first opening was fabulous

More plant buying...This is in the carpark of Amultree and it is the only time I think I have ever had a panic that I couldn't take home all the plants I had just bought....however it was momentary, as where there is a will there is a way

The fabulous Will Giles's garden, this along with Great Dixter (and Mark and Gaz's garden!) are probably my favourite exotic gardens 

My NBF, the famous, beautiful and witty Carol Klein when we had a day filming for BBC Gardeners World...very odd experience but one of the best birthdays ever

late autumn when the Ricinus grow tall and things start to fade....


A rather empty lower garden

The same view, but in the exuberance of high summer!

2012 was still mega busy as we just kind of stopped in 2011 at the opening, with only half the top being cleared ending at this point which was a bit of a dumping ground...

Which then turned into the summerhouse and shed! this is the same area, but viewed from the other side

Then we found the old old Victorian pond, complete with Water Lilly plinths just filled in with loads of old crap, and overall about 20cm under the soil! we had no idea it was there, but have relined it and it now has fish...

Growing things in pots is also key, especially on the terrace...organising them and moving them around has built me up like Popeye
2012 also saw the arrival of bees... me keep bees? am I crazy? yes I am, and foolish too as I just got 4 1/2 jars of honey and 10 bee stings...bee keeping is a lot harder and more stressful than it looks!

The sunken terrace by my flat, 2012 didn't see many days of us sitting out!

Lower garden exuberance

Garden opening 2012! a fabulous day, 189 visitors and we made just under £1000!
 Upper level Garuda
 Lushness at the top with a young Paulownia and Nicandra
 The pavilion
Pond looking lush with Helianthus salicifolius, Cannas Inula and Eupatorium capilliaris
Great favourite garden. I still swoon thinking of it

swoon some more...
Then after winter that kind of brings us right up to the current day...still loads to do, lots of plans and lots of experiments and meeting of people to be done.

So bravo if you have made it to the end of this very long blog! I hope that you have enjoyed the first 100 posts, and you will enjoy the next 100!


  1. Congratulations on your 100th post anniversary Clive! It was nice to see the highlights of your blog so far, and the journey has just begun :)

  2. Happy Anniversary! I enjoyed the run through the past and look forward to what you've got in store for us in the future. Also I love that you included Mark and Gaz's garden with Will Giles and Great Dixter. As it should be!