I love my garden; I really do. Sadly though, the feeling isn’t always reciprocated. And I readily admit that sometimes my London garden just doesn’t love me back, at least not the parts of it that grow.
The architect in me is comfortable with working within the confines of garden as exterior room. The problems occur whenever I want to tweak the lush, rainforest plantings that our garden designers installed originally. Upon returning to London after spending August in Connecticut one year, I was not ready to give up on summer. I put in some hydrangeas and one exquisite dahlia. My summer effect was brief and I should have known better than to mess with Mother Nature or the advice of my gardeners. The plants didn’t take. Now when I want to add a little color in my garden, I keep my efforts small and in planters. Lesson learned: When I stay within my limitations, my garden loves me back:
Photography by Matthew Williams for Gardenista.
In the years since I first wrote about my garden, exposing myself as a reluctant gardener, I have been pretty good about following my own advice, which was to “know thy limitations.”
So when we wanted to accommodate the teens that came to hang out in our tiny garden, we provided them with different types of outdoor seating—outdoor sofas, a wooden bench, and two folding chairs from Ikea. Sometimes there were too many (teens, that is) and then they would sit directly on the cold, damp paving stones. That was when we installed the artificial grass. Shortly after that, the wall-mounted beer bottle opener went up. (N.B:. In the UK, children from age 5 to 16 are allowed to drink at home or on other private premises.) When I wanted to hang my clothes outside to dry, I installed a clothesline.
In my adopted hometown, there is gardening inspiration everywhere. See 11 Garden Ideas to Steal from London for more.
N.B.: Christine is also the writer of new website Fabulous Fabsters, celebrating women who are FAB—Fifty And Beyond—and sharing their stories.