Every garden we step into, no matter how neglected or forlorn, carries its own individuality, its history, its genius loci.
The rambling rose smothering all in its wake, was perhaps once the cutting brought from grandma’s garden. Beneath the foraging bees on the dense nettles, lies the path once placed with care.
A garden renovation has to be sensitive to preserving that which is worth saving.
This artist’s city garden had its own innate personality; cuttings from friends gathered over the years as well as subtle sculptures aplenty – brahmin cattle, torsos, dishes and plaques, all needing a home amongst the planting.
Of course, it had some problems too. Nettles and weeds dominated the narrow beds and the paths were difficult to negotiate. Our job was to create a calm haven whilst restoring order.
Carefully, the beds were cleared without losing those plants with sentimental value and the pulling together of the planting, to create a cohesive look, could begin.
Slowly order is restored and the new planting begins.
The owner wanted a garden which was appealing to birds, bees and butterflies. The old lavender was retained , to be replaced after it has finished flowering, and was joined by other nectar rich plants such as scabiosa, delphiniums, echinops and sedum.
An old stone sink, sunk in the ground, once filled with water will support a small fountain pump; the area is softened by collected smooth stones encompassed by succulents.
Garden features are now visible and the planting, in shades of green and purple, is chosen for contrasting shapes, tones and textures
Once the lovely old stone bird bath was filled, it was immediately occupied.
An area of afternoon shade supports a large acer in a pot, now joined by the lovely Hydrangea arborescens ‘Annabelle’ , its creamy white blooms glowing in the shade.
Sculptural plants, like bamboo and euphorbia, in large pots extend the planting to the paths and seating area.
The sculptures could now begin to creep back amongst the planting .
Perhaps this fine fellow will be the new genius loci of this very special garden.
(All photography mine)