The 'South African' Garden
Owner Annette grew up in South Africa so has introduced some design elements into her English garden to remind her of her childhood. She has dotted the garden with bird sculptures which she bought on a visit back to South Africa and she says the gazebo is a very strong reminder of her childhood garden. The large garden backs on to the London Wetland Centre and Annette and her garden designer worked together to make sure the space was an extension of the bio-diversity of the Wetlands.
Annette says: When we moved in the garden comprised a concrete slab in the corner, a lawn and was sparsely planted but totally unkept. As a result we started from scratch. The garden is very much an extension of our home and we wanted to create a space that we love being in.
The garden was designed by a local designer who worked with us to create the feel we wanted. It has a southernly aspect and overlooks the WWT and so we wanted it to be an extension of the bio-diversity in the wetlands.
Importantly we wanted the garden to have interest throughout the year. This has truly been achieved, and each few weeks new plants come in to their own and give me absolute joy.
The garden is very much a team effort. I take great pleasure working in the garden and am supported by a fantastic local gardener, who mows the lawn, prunes the larger shrubs, trees and hedges and takes charge of the watering system. In addition, I have two lady gardeners, who work on the beds and help replanting and cutting back as necessary.
The gazebo is a wonderful haven where you effectively feel as though you are immersed in the garden and is a very different feel to when experiencing the garden form the patio. It is made of wood and has a shingle roof and in the spring is surrounded by the blossoms of three cherry trees. The gazebo is reminiscent of being a child and growing up in South Africa.
I also have a collection of 5 stone carved birds that are in my garden, which I brought from South Africa and sit amongst grasses, euphorbia and a rose.
There are a number of structural things that make the garden work: a red dwarf maple in the middle of the back wall is a fantastic focal point and looks good throughout the year; the wisteria which erupts in colour in the spring; the curved wooden decking edged with lavender which gives beautiful colour throughout the summer. The quince tree has become one of my favourite trees. Our garden designer was very keen to have more fruit trees and said “every garden needs a quince tree” and she was so right!