Archives for the month of: November, 2011

The iPhone camera just cannot do justice to this fabulous accident in a neglected bit of London roadside landscaping.

The poor-mans box – Lonicera nitida has been used to encircle a begrudged flower bed set within a dismal, downtrodden lawn. In its centre was planted a neat pampas grass as a specimen. But that was probably 5 years ago, an now we are instead treated to this mane of unkempt foliage cascading like hair extensions down the sides of the hedged donut.

Very edgy, very Hackney.


There’s precious little to look forward to en route to a hospital visit generally, but on the busy main drag up to Ayrshire Central, an array of housing from 1980’s Brookside-style to miraculously preserved Georgian, greets your reluctant passage on.

In the front garden of one fine villa remains this deceased specimen tree, sculptural in its bald decay. Probably a cherry, I’d think, its sharply diminishing trunk circumference makes me wonder what bizarre accidental or deliberate cauterization it suffered.
And if this caused the extraordinary corkscrew branching.
And how long the owners will allow the relic to occupy this prime position in their otherwise ultraconventional front garden.

An unexpected discovery in sleepy Dumfriesshire is the Scottish National Museum of Costume, housed in a small baronial pile surrounded by a gently neglected but still beautiful woodland garden.

It’s too small a venue to offer more than a glimpse at the full collection which is a great shame as I love to see such displays, but in the gardens are a surprising (for me anyhow) array of rather successful living willow structures. Now, this is truly hat-eating time for me, as living willow is up there in my top 5 most hated garden ‘features’, alongside coloured crazy paving and all garden centre-derived ‘sculpture’.

Large enough to shelter a dining table for eight, the tightly woven willow wands hide subtle support structures of timber that maintain a ‘sharpness’ that most living willow lacks. The whole structure possesses a touch of Grimms’ fairytale-ness and somehow also a formalism uncharacteristic of willow – triumphant.  During our visit, occasional sunshine turned this large-scale willow pergola into a skein of intricate shadows on the lawn – though when I got my camera out the sun wouldn’t oblige. I suspect also that it’s ‘plucked’ to remove its untidy leaves  – it is oddly bare for midsummer.

All is not perfect though –  as you can see in the far right-hand corner the willow artist has failed to resist the lure of the ‘expressive figurative’ form that is their more familiar stock-in trade.