Visit our garden, 2 Littlebury Road, Clapham

Sunday 8 September at 1 – 6pm

We’re opening our garden again for the National Garden Scheme (NGS) to raise money for care charities – the more people who pop in, the more we raise! It is a personal space in which I design other gardens, write my articles and books, observe wildlife and plants and relax.

£4.50 entry (every penny to charity, children free), read more on the NGS Open Gardens website.

Info

  • Nearest stations: Clapham High Street, Clapham North, Clapham Common (note Clapham Junction is not in Clapham and a mile away, catch the short 5 min train from here to Clapham High Street instead).
  • Cakes and teas for sale.
  • Limited homegrown plant sale.
  • Warning: garden is full of rare exotics, some plants are spiky and others poisonous if eaten (but then, so are roses and foxgloves…)

About

Our garden is not designed, it is a place to experiment and observe how interesting plants grow. Featured in Gardener’s World Magazine, The Telegraph and in books and TV shows, it is a small urban space full of exotic and colourful plants I hope people will enjoy or find a new plant to grow.

This is an interesting year for the garden because it marks the transition of a bigger plan for the space. It’s worth checking out now because it’s the start of a long-term shift away from how it looked before and will be useful to see how these progress in future years. I have made some fundamental changes, experiments and trials including:

What’s new pussy cat

  • Palms and exotic shrubs around the perimeter of the garden which will shape how the garden looks in years to come, though they are quite small now.
  • Chucking out our giant table to replace with rocking chairs! Comfy? We think so but you tell us!
  • Height for the feel of enclosure – this year more than most I feel I’ve achieved this through gradual selection of plants over the years.
  • Begun reducing the number of pots by planting more things in the ground.
  • Around a fifth of plants are self-sown from last year’s plants, growing naturally.
  • Wildlife has always been a core focus of our garden and this year I’ve introduced – or allowed to grow – more native plants you may be more familiar as calling weeds.
  • Persicaria are playing an ever increasing role in the garden (as they do in my designs) reflecting my growing interest in this genus that led to me being invited onto the RHS Persicaria Trial panel at RHS Wisely.
  • Testing the hardiness of many borderline hardy plants many think are tender – in our London microclimate I’ve found so many plants thrive outside that are thought to be houseplants or conservatory plants including many cacti, succulents and tender tropicals.
  • New succulent window boxes out front to save on watering!
  • An evolved colour palette to what I think is now quite a complex but subtle scheme. See what you think!
  • Conifers – my conifer collection and seedlings continues to excite me.
  • Micropond – now in its fifth year and continuing to thrive, now with cotton grass.
  • Fern wall – I think this may be the last year this stays as I wish to reduce all need for pots but the ferns will obviously stay! And this year the ferns are almost back to their former glory after serious damage during the beast from the east. Some are looking truly exceptional.

Other stuff to see

Our garden is small compared to other NGS gardens. However, our hope is that anyone can take an idea away from our garden and try it at home. Everything is done to show other Londoners in small or rented  properties that you can grow stuff in any unlikely spot. Some things you will see are:

  • Micropond with a tiny waterlily and water iris
  • Cat friendly planting
  • Plants for shade
  • Plants for sun
  • Living wall of over 50 different fern species and cultivars
  • Containers galore including a long Belfast sink
  • 15 or so different types of Dahlias
  • Climbing plants, some common, some rare
  • Tropical plants
  • Victorian oddities
  • Wildlife ideas (everything is to attract wildlife – and it does!)
  • A variety of salvias
  • About 35 different house plants
  • Window boxes
  • And if we’re lucky, I’m going to try to have some flowers from my allotment to show too (including even more Dahlias!)

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Chris and Jack

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Jack Wallington

I'm an RHS qualified garden designer living in Clapham, London who loves growing plants and designing with them. Follow me on Twitter.

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