green 'room' of (fruit) trees, where we can lose ourselves a little and forget we're in London
West facing garden 18m x 6m, lawn & BBQ area by kitchen and 'green room' paved & seating beyond. Aim is to create a haven for wildlife and people, a low-maintenance family garden with edible fruits and perennial veg.
Coming out of the kitchen, there is a container to the left, divided into sections, for growing different varieties of mint. Apple mint is good for salad, Spearmint and Peppermint are good for drinks and cooking.
On the right, in more sun, is a container for mediterranean herbs Thyme and Rosemary. There is well-pruned bay tree to the left by the path. All of these are for cooking & BBQs.
Garden CAD plan without background satellite photo
The path curves to the left and in the shady left border are 3 fruit bushes and a variety of leafy vegetables for cooking (sorrel, mallow and columbine). There is a trained thornless bramble up the fence, for pollinators & fruit. The ground cover is a strawberry near the kitchen and Lungwort toward the shade of the Cherry.
On the right of the path, in more sun, is a lavender hedge planted in to well drained soil, right by the mown & fox-poo free lawn.
Amazing damson blossom, good for early pollinators
The lawn is smaller but still large enough to lie down. To the north of the lawn is the elegant Damson and pond bed. The pond is surrounded by stones which match the new paving by the back of the house. The Damson has the canopy raised slightly to allow light in beneath. On the fence is a Jasmine climber for scent. There are two tall plants, an edible globe artichoke on the left of the pond and a wispy fennel to the right. There's a mixture of spinach and flower edibles in the bed, interspersed with pollinator friendly flowers, the Verbena and the Echinacea.
The ground cover is pollinator-friendly Oregano and further back in the bed a fertilising Dwarf Comfrey.
Gorgeous flowers of Japanese Quince 'Crimson and Gold'
Just behind the Damson is a Japanese Quince, with gorgeous flowers, highlighted red against the dark green of the fig, and edible fruit, and behind it a Hemp Agrimony for pollinators. You will need to keep the fig pruned though to stop it encroaching on the Damson, and I would keep off the ground as well, to allow the Dwarf Comfrey to prosper and nourish it.
Sketch of the Green Room, looking North
Through the Cherry and Fig arch, you come to the 'green room'. In the deep shade of the Cherry to the left there is a robust white Geranium. There is far more light from the West now, with a gentle shade provided by the tall Italian. This should have its canopy raised as it grows, to let in more light. Along the north fence is a green wall of 4 metre high bamboo, a non-invasive clumping variety whose shoots are also edible.
Non-invasive bamboo to form a screen beneath the Italian Alder
To the left of the bamboo is a Turkish Hazel, not as vigourous as our native but still providing a screen and nuts for wildlife. There’s still a fair degree of southerly light coming in, so there’s space for a white flowering Japanese Quince, which will glow in the dark spring evenings as it flowers. Likewise, Wood Betony provides a good ground cover butting up to the paving, with a mix of Lungwort and possibly Nepalese Raspberry under the hawthorn, if there’s enough light.
Ah, the hawthorn, a non-native but still very wildlife valuable Broad-leaved Cockspur Thorn, with amazing flowers, fruit and foliage. It’s less vigorous than the native Hawthorn, so will need less maintenance.
“Just beginning to turn. The whole tree will be gold and red soon.”
Moving left, there may well be room for a large leaved rhubarb, a dramatic foil as you enter the space, and next to it, a small and elegant crabapple, a pollinator for the other apple and a star in its own right. Beautiful light red and white flowers in the spring for pollinators and dark red fruit, for you if you’re quick enough.
The new shed is a green roofed shed, with space enough for all the bikes and somehow the mower as well.
Facing it is your choice of apple. I’d recommend an eater that keeps well. Even though it’s shaded by the fence to the South, there’s enough light from the West for there to be a fair crop.
Beneath the trees are ferns, comfrey (for chop 'n' drop mulching), Wild Angelica and some Columbine if there’s enough light.
I can supply a lot of the ground cover plants, like the Dwarf Comfrey and Nepalese Raspberry.
Which plants are available depend on your soil pH and type, what plants you’d like to keep and how much light is available. Think of this as a list of ideas for plants!
Fennel, a native, edible, wildlife-friendly perennial plant
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