This garden by an architect/landscape architect couple was open under the National Garden Scheme mid-August. It demonstrates an understated and ingenious use of materials, while cramming a lot of function and interest into a small London back garden.Cor-Ten steel (see posting on Andy Sturgeon at Chelsea) forms a rill from the end of the garden with water falling into the pond outside the basement bedroom. The red oxide layer contrasts pleasingly with the green. The steel's welded straightness and simplicity of form is juxtaposed satisfyingly with both the slate shapes embedded in the path, and the large, exotic foliage texture around the pool. Rusted construction steel rods bent in arcs continue the theme.
There is really lovely late summer planting, with cactus Dahlia, Rudbeckia, the fine grass Stipa tenuissima and possibly S. gigantea, and also Sedum spectabile beginning to come into its own.
In August I visited unionstreetorchard, a pop up project in Southwark, and was inspired by the design-driven creation of different elements such as re-use of pallets. Height is created in a light way, with the direction of the slats giving a dynamism to the space (which otherwise has a bare, rectangular footprint). The square modules have a modernist resonance, yet are created from a raw, recovered material, judiciously accented in rural shades of leaf and pea green (whereas modernism is sleek chrome, black and urban/urbane).
From a horticultural point of view, it would be important to ensure the bark was not damaged in construction or by the pallets moving around, as this could mean infection, cause less than healthy growth and permanently disfigure the tree. However, the pallets could provide protection against herbivory as young trees (deer are not such an issue in Southwark!). Nice for seating or putting down a glass or posing a container of geraniums. Not a feature that would last effectively more than a season, and this untreated wood would then harbour fungal disease...
This wall mounted wave of waste timber, left, hung with lights, was an inspired creation in this railway arch that doubled as story-telling space. Hats off to the individual(s) who had the vision and physical strength to create it. The what-I-call Moomin shelter, right - there's an exaggerated Nordic pitch to that roof - nearly got my inner seven-year old making a den there (except for the real 7 year olds in the vicinity).
The Architecture Foundation seems to have driven the creation of the space, and that provenance is clear in this CAD-like completely charming 'shed', that no doubt references (wittingly or no) Rachel Whiteread and others...and yet also bodgers and shed refugees in hand knits.
Lastly, ping pong with a 'real' twist (qv Hampton Court real tennis) that is also a safeguard against balls in the shrubbery. I want one of these. Thanks, Union Street Orchard for a great afternoon! The trees were donated to local residents and community projects once the site closed.
I'm a grower, gardener and qualified designer living and working in South London. I teach horticulture at Capel Manor College, at their site in Regent's Park, and I coordinate the volunteers of Garden Organic's South London Master Gardener programme.
Please visit my business website to find out about how the garden design and horticulture training services I offer - vivekagardens.com
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