Chelwood is a city garden just off Cheyne Walk in London. The house has ten flats and the garden is communal. The existing garden 23m x 8m x 13m was uninspiring. It had metre-deep beds around the edge with concrete flags in the middle; although the design was dull the planting was surprisingly interesting. I learnt that the gardener was a former head of the Chelsea Physic Gardens and a friend of one of the occupants, which explained the quality of the planting. The remit was to make different areas so there could be an illusion of privacy for multiple use. The garden was not big enough to make more than two such spaces.
A rustic feel
The design was based on two circles of different sizes connected by a curved path. We lifted and re-used the flags, adding cobbles as infill on the path to give a more rustic feel. Six obelisks swathed in the pink scented Rosa ’Lakeland Rose’ Harspiraal lead to the larger open space. The London season is longer and a wider variety of plants can be grown in this warmer climate, so Pennisetum alopecuroides ‘Little Bunny’, with its jolly little bunny tail seed head, could be grown. We used it along with voila oderatum ‘alba’ as edging plants.
A warm embrace
Fruit trees and other edibles have been incorporated into the planting, with a contoured hedge of hawthorn and sloe, planted around a significant part of the larger seating area to provide shelter and psychological comfort – you are embraced by the hedge.
A lucky garden
This garden is a lucky garden. The new gardener worked with the well known garden designer Arabella Lennox Boyd for many years, so once again it is in experienced hands.