A Chiswick Hideaway
There was nothing on this site in Chiswick but a small lawn and a couple of shrubs. A meandering path was key to our new layout, extending the garden’s apparent length, linking the house to its far end, and seeming to stop effortlessly by the table and seating area on the way. Perfectly placed and planted beds complicate the view down the path to the wall fountain that serves as a focal point at its far end, creating the sense of an ever-unfolding mystery. Three multi-stem amelanchiers anchor and frame the changing angles of this view, standing like exclamation marks in each of the three beds, and filling the garden with their blossom in spring.
We are always aware of wildlife in the garden, and by using eye-catching log “waves” to separate the beds from the seating and dining areas we have created habitats for garden insects. We also encourage plants to self-seed, allowing love-in-the mist, creeping thyme, Valerian, Cerinthe and the striking Lunaria annua ‘Chedglow’, to make themselves at home in cracks and crevices between the paving slabs.
Espaliered pear trees enclose the garden on one side, creating a precious sense of privacy. Their blossom is part of a succession of spring flowers, from snowdrops, early in the year, to the lovely chequered, late-spring flowers of fritillaries (Fritillaria meleagris), and sweet-scented Sarcoccocca confusa and Daphne odora.
Reliable perennials, such as brilliant blue Salvia x sylvestris ‘Dear Anja’ and Eryngium ‘Blue hobbit’, combine with the dusky flowers of Baptisia australis ‘Dutch Chocolate’, pale pink Echinacea pallida and perfumed philadelphus to create a succession of scents and colours throughout the summer. The various layers of plants are hold together by a very important matrix of grasses (Sesleria autumnalis). This allows an evergreen feel to the planting throughout the year, supresses weeds and contribute to hold moisture in the ground.
We love to use contrasting textures in the garden, and here we do this with a scattering of pots in beds and on paths, with the water running over the bronze plate of the fountain, and the juxtaposition of the loose slate of the path with its neat steel edges.
Photography: Alister Thorpe