The City Garden – Spring in London

I have been digging, tidying, mulching and feeding since I returned from South Africa at the beginning of the month and the garden in London is finally ready for the summer. There are still some spaces left to fill but the cuttings for these spaces still have some growing to do before they can be moved again. This is the difficult garden. I have a damp and shady bed along a flint wall; a bed along a brick wall which is hot and dry at one end, dampish and shadyish in the middle, and shady and dry at the other end; a bed along the fence which is hot and dry at both ends and semi-shaded under a tree in the middle; another hot, dry corner; and pots in the ‘Fernery’ which has not quite settled. And to cap it all I have SNAILS!

The flint wall bed is looking good apart from one very small corner under the birch tree – here the soil is shallow, dry, and ‘rooty’, but I will find something which enjoys a challenge! I could perhaps plant more Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’ or Aquilegias, which are both doing well, or  Bergenias, Aquilegias, and Japanese Anemones are all flourishing and ferns are starting to grow in spaces in the wall and amongst the plants. And next to that the patio bed is settling down nicely – the Amelanchier is flowering and the persicaria, pulmonaria, and aquilegias are filling out well.

The flint wall & the patio bed
The flint wall & the patio bed

The brick wall bed has been reviewed, tidied, and some parts have been rearranged. Deschampsia, Japanese Anemones, and Dogwoods are doing well at the hot end, where the Veronicastrum is coming up and thickening nicely. The Himalayan Clematis is also doing well, but I need to find a way of shoring it up/containing the growth. I have moved a Philadelphus ‘Belle Etoile’ to this end as it was groping for the light and plan to contain it with pruning. This side should work well in a month’s time and during the summer. I have left the grasses on the sunnier side and balanced with ‘spiky’ libertia and ferns on the shadier side. Under and inbetween planting is with geraniums, saxifrage, and ajuga, amongst other things.

The brick wall bed
The brick wall bed

Unfolding Holly fern, Cyrtomium

Geranium Macrorrhizum 'Spessart'

London Pride Ajuga

Along the fence I have spread the grasses – Miscanthus ‘Kleine Silberspinne’ and Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’ – and surrounded them with Sedums and Nepeta. This should look less crowded than last year, and there may be space to tuck in some Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’ which I have been dividing in Suffolk. I have added Carex Testacea and Othiopogon and the Pennisutum ‘Hamelm’ and Anamanthele are clumping up well. Inbetween I have Geranium Macrorrhizum ‘Spessart’ and Geranium Phaeum ‘Samobor’, dark-leaved sedums, and a shortish Veronicastrum which I have moved from behind the dogwoods. It looks ‘right’ and I am hopeful of a good show this summer.

The bed along the fence

The hot corner

And that leaves the pots in the ‘fernery’. The Hakonechloa are just starting and I anticipate this pot looking abundantly gold in a few months’ time – but there is still work to be done beyond this little fringe of gold.



  1. Your garden looks lovely – I like the raised borders and they are very densely planted. And everything is so neat and tidy. I have just planted an epimedium and a tiarella underneath my weeping willow (Kilmarnock willow) tree which is quite shady and difficult to plant anything because of the roots. I’m hoping they both will spread. Grasses and ground cover is a good way to go in the borders it seems, yours look very good. I hope you will show more of this garden in the summer when the taller plants are in flower. I’m trying a few climbers to give me more privacy and I’d love to grow some Australian / New Zealand plants, but no idea what the snail population will make of them!

    • Thank you – very kind of you. This is the second growing season and I am quite pleased, but there is still a long way to go! And yes, I will try to do a post this weekend, and during the next week. You have given me quite a lot to think about and I will give your comments a considered response in a post.

I'd love to hear from you!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.