Sunday, 27 June 2010

Hot days and local treats

On the hottest weekend of the year, it's been hard prizing myself out of my stripey deckchair. It was just so nice sitting under the olive tree watching the bees decide whether to land on the lavender, peek into a foxglove, or buzz ecstatically in a poppy flower. It's not often that you get to say this about a British summer, but it really is too hot to do any gardening after about 10.30am. So I've kept my gardening activities low-key and local - no getting involved in crowded, sweaty tube lines or steamy traffic jams.
My garden visit was in the blissful cool of the evening and just a short stroll away. There was even a glass of wine thrown in with the NGS entrance fee. It was a first-time opening for No 4 Cumberland Park , W3, a garden that combined lovely structural planting, with immaculate grooming that can only be the result of hours of dedicated, passionate gardening. Favourite features were the trachelospermum that divided the garden, trained perfectly around the trellis, and the ruby red rose climbing up the ancient fruit tree. Owner Sarah Hamilton-Fairley, who created the garden with her husband and the guidance of designer Alison Wear, said they love it so much they never want to go on holiday. I hope they open again next year - it was a lovely surprise to find a garden like this in my neighbourhood and more people should get to see it.
Having seen such a lovely garden and spent some time just sitting in my own, I decided there are some gaps that need filling. So I paid a visit to Ginkgo Gardens in Hammersmith - a great urban garden centre, just a 15 minute bike ride away - on streets blissfully empty due to a certain football match that gripped the nation today.
I haven't been to Ginkgo for a for a year or so, and  found they've expanded with a beautiful, big cafe - shame that it means less room for plants, (people clearly like to drink coffee more than they like to garden). But the quality of the plants is very good. It's not somewhere you'd go for a bargain, but  theres a good range of perennials, shrubs and vegetables, with lots of good clear labelling and signposting where plants are UK or locally grown.
The staff were friendly and helpful, a 20cm box ball costs £15.99, they stock Vital Earth peat-free compost, Franchi vegetable seeds, have some wonderful big pots, and if I'd wanted to buy more than I could fit in my bicycle basket (1 stock and 1 laurentia), the delivery charge would only be £7.50. Not bad - I shall return.

1 comment:

  1. what a brilliant blog! I have just discovered it, and I love it. Keep the blogs coming!