The ‘Patio’, aka ‘The Fernery’

Garden planning has started, which means Jason Lock has cast his eye over the garden and we are going to commission a plan. He designed a beautiful village garden for me in Cratfield, but I want this, London garden, to be different.

The view from the front door
The garden in Cratfield in the evening light in June

The Project

This South East London garden was laid out in 1985 and in the last few years has been sadly neglected. I want to ‘renovate’ it (can you renovate a garden?) so that it is again a joy rather than a dump about which I feel guilty! As Anne Marie would say, it is time!

The untidy patio and the neglected garden
The untidy patio and the neglected garden

Early morning

The flowers are so beautiful I am drawn into the garden at all times of the day, but capturing their essence is really difficult.

Anenome 'Hadspens Abundance' in leaf, with a little spray of forget-me-not
Anenome ‘Hadspens Abundance’ in leaf, with a little spray of forget-me-not
Libertia
Libertia
Rosa 'Canary Bird' towards the end of flowering
Rosa ‘Canary Bird’ towards the end of flowering
Alchemilla Mollis holding the rainwater
Alchemilla Mollis holding the rainwater

The garden in May

Oh dear! It seems we will have another difficult year in the garden. One warm weekend and now it is cold, wet, and windy again. The plants are struggling on, and some even seem to be thriving.

Geraniium Phaeum 'Samobor'
Geranium Phaeum ‘Samobor’
Nepeta Mussinii
Nepeta Mussinii
Rosa 'Canary Bird'
Rosa ‘Canary Bird’
Erysimum 'EA Bowles' - always in flower; an absolute delight!
Erysimum ‘EA Bowles’ – always in flower; an absolute delight!
Brunnera 'Jack Frost' in full bloom, before transforming itself into a mass of large, silvery leaves - gorgeous
Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’ in full bloom, before transforming itself into a mass of large, silvery leaves – gorgeous
Hellebore 'Argutifolius'
Hellebore ‘Argutifolius’

Bradshaw’s Illustrated Hand Book to London 1862

I am starting a new adventure, accompanied by Mr George Bradshaw – I am going to explore London (‘and its environs’). Have you seen Michael Portillo’s railway journeys on television, in which he travelled in the UK and Europe, Bradshaw in hand? Well, the same Bradshaw also wrote a guide to London and I will be following his tour from Thursday 24 January 2013, snow permitting. I have a new blog which will document my discoveries, londondiaryblog.wordpress.com/about/, and I hope that you will join me each week.

Bradshaw

Paris in January 2013

I have just returned from three days in Paris where I was privileged to see things of breathtaking beauty. I was not really aware of Hiroshige until I spent several hours in the Pinacotheque – you should try to see the exhibition if you possibly can.

Hiroshige, 53 Stations,Tokaido_Okabe

Descending into winter

The mist is low this morning; a heavy, cold, dampness that wants to sink into my bones. It is silent, with only the occasional brave bird somewhere out in the greyness.

Late autumn colours

This time last year I was getting ready to return to South Africa; now it is five and a half months since my mother died. I need to talk to her this morning. And I long to be with my friend BER. I am suddenly overcome with fear that I will never see him again in this life – one day there will be a phonecall, or worse still an email telling me he has gone, and I will only have the sound of his voice in my head.

The garden falling asleep

Lavender sachets

The lavender bushes flowered well and when I pruned the bushes in August it seemed like a good idea to use the cuttings – lavender sachets and lavender fire bundles! Making small pouches is trickier than I realised, but thanks to the internet and Handmade Jane these are the first attempts:

A year later in the garden

 I still find it hard to believe that these gorgeous plants have grown in the only one year! And I love the colours which seem to mix so easily.