I was in South London to visit the mysterious 575 Wandsworth Road (the house donated to the NT in 2006 but which only opened to the public in spring of 2013). That’s another story.
I was about 20 minutes early and as I rocked up on my bike I’d noticed an alley next to the house with a sign “Community Garden” and an arrow pointing me up the alley.
Off I went. The garden was perfectly nice but I was more interested in the familiar yellow sign advertising a “Garden Open Today for the National Garden Scheme”.
I had no A-Z but popped into a pottery next door to the community garden and got myself some directions.
“One to visit after the Wandsworth Road tour” I thought.
I even persuaded someone else on the 575 Wandsworth Road tour it might be worth a visit too. I knew nothing about the garden but was very glad to visit.
A little enclave of lush (plus a chance to nosey inside a modernised Georgian townhouse as the garden was accessed via the lower ground floor, which is now a white box of a kitchen/diner/lounge with folding doors onto steep steps at the rear).
The north-facing compact 25ft x 60ft garden at 35 Turret Grove is at 1st floor level, higher than all the neighbours’, perhaps because of the house’s position on the peak of the hill. That means that the gleaming stairs could be created at the other side of those folding doors, on which plants – previously given their fill of sun in the only guaranteed sunny spot at the back of the plot – can be ogled and admired.
The garden is divided into three or four spaces – a plant lined walkway leading from the ground floor to an archway, then a decked seating area at the top of those white steps, before a space leads to a lawn with chairs. In one rear corner is a shed and the other a table – that sunny spot.
I particularly admired the miniature weeping silver birch.
The owner has tired to create a bit of Jamaica in his garden. All of this created in just six years – look what was there before.
Perhaps every 20-something with a rotten piece of grass in their back garden should be dragged to 35 Turret Grove to see what they can achieve with a little bit of effort (and perhaps an irrigation system – the owner here prefers the therapeutic nature of watering so does it all himself by hand).
What I particularly liked was how the blue lobelia ties in with the paintwork on the seat. An idea I’ll certainly be banking in my box of tricks.
The owner has never been to Great Dixter, but given his use of pots around the garden, with only the largest specimens being planted into the ground, he must surely but a kindred spirit of Christopher Lloyd.
If the garden opens next year, perhaps you might like to make yourself an afternoon appointment at 575 Wandsworth Road followed by tea & cake at 35 Turrret Grove because I can assure you, you’re unlikely to be disappointed.
When visited: July 2013
Website (NGS): http://ngs.org.uk/gardens/gardenfinder/garden.aspx?id=25042
Theme tune: The Good Life