About the Walthamstow garden (2003-2017)
Apparently 29m above sea level the garden was on improved clay, in the mild, suburban climate of north-east London, in Walthamstow's village borders.
A north-west facing back garden 10m wide x 15m, though quite sunless in winter, is bathed in sun during the long summer days. The 10m wide x 5m front garden is in dryish woodland shade cast by the street's lime trees.
Begun in 2003 and still evolving, the garden is given over almost entirely to flower borders, heavily influenced by Great Dixter (don't plant one plant when you can plant three on top of one another!), the Hermannshof garden (mix it up meadow-style!) and Piet Oudolf (does a plant still look good when it's dead?)
The dense, naturalistic planting - chosen determinedly for year-round interest and weed-suppression - consists of perennials, grasses, ferns, bulbs, shrubs and trees (several borrowed from next door).
Hard landscaping consists of large slate slabs, chippings and cobbles. There's a tunnel of arches over the main path that creak under the weight of climbers, and some slatted screens of horizontal or vertical battens that reference the garden furniture.
I lure loads of birds to the garden with a year-round supply of sunflower hearts, peanut nibs and niger seed, and offer them a choice of bird bath and nesting options too. There are no vegetables or a lawn here, but there are six places to sit and enjoy the swooshing of leaves, buzzing of bees, tweeting of birds, chiming of church bells and the occasional siren!
In August 2017, we bought a farm in Broad Oak, Brede near Rye in East Sussex - a stone's throw from Great Dixter - and embark on a fresh gardening challenge.