All posts filed under: Home and Garden

The Beautiful Houses of Dulwich

I love Dulwich; to my mind it is one of the most beautiful areas of London. I think it is the captivating combination of serene calmness, quiet sophistication and the cerebral atmosphere of a university town, accentuated with its fine schools, art gallery, local amenities and community life. The neighbourhood offers locals and visitors alike an eclectic mix of the most stunning properties in South London from the grand Georgian mansions, the palatial Victorian and Edwardian houses, the pre- and post-war homes, to the lovely hidden cottages tucked away down secluded alleyways. One cannot fail to be impressed by the distinctiveness and diversity of the elegant properties that make up the unique residential district around Dulwich. The other evening I was strolling around the village just as twilight fell. The homes lining the streets suddenly proffered a passer-by a quick, tantalising glimpse through the warm glow of tungsten lit windows into the private worlds of their occupants. As I peeped through the glazed windowpanes into the concealed private lives behind these enclosed walls, my curiosity …

Garden Talk: Your gardening to-do list

  Things are getting busy in the garden – here’s what to do this month. Fertilise and mulch * After weeding, sprinkle soil with an organic fertilser, such as chicken pellets or fish, blood and bone and lightly fork around trees and shrubs. Give roses a special rose feed or a balanced fertiliser. * Cover bare soil with a 5cm layer of organic matter such as well rotten manure to stop it losing water as weather warms up, watering first if it’s dry. A mulch suppresses weeds and looks smart too. Move and plant * If there’s a shrub that’s outgrown its spot, now’s the time move it. Take as large a root ball as you can, drag it over to its new home on a plastic sheet, add well rotted compost to the hole, water it well and it should take off. *This is the last chance to plant bare root trees, roses and shrubs as those little hair roots need to be making their way into the soil by now. * Plant new …

The Benefits of Community Gardening

Statistics from the Mental Health Foundation show that mental ill-health is a growing concern. In addition to this, a recent article in the Guardian by George Monbiot, loneliness kills just as many people as smoking 30 cigs a day. Over the last few years, cut backs have hit services hard and the people most affected are those who are most vulnerable due to ill health or poverty. However, some of the causes of loneliness, depression and anxiety can be alleviated by spending time outdoors interacting with nature and with other people, at minimal cost. Community gardens provide a fantastic free, accessible resource for people of all ages and abilities to do this. Frendsbury garden in Brockley offers two weekly gardening clubs for wellbeing: Dig It on a Wednesday afternoon at 2pm and We Dig It 2 on a Monday afternoon at 1.30pm. Both clubs finish at 4pm. They are open to all adults in the area, especially those who are under-employed, socially isolated and recovering from mental ill-health. It is also open to anyone who …

Dulwich Society Garden Group Spring Talk: Matt Keightley on “The Chelsea Experience”

The Dulwich Society’s garden group spring talk on Thursday 23rd March will be by Matt Keightley. Matt was awarded a Silver Gilt Medal at the 2014 RHS Chelsea Flower Show for his “Help for Heroes” Show Garden. Working with Prince Harry for his charity Sentabale, he was awarded a second Silver Gilt Medal at the 2015 RHS Chelsea Flower Show for his “Hope in Vulnerability” Show Garden. Matt also received the BBC People’s Choice Award for Best Show Garden for both gardens. Matt’s talk will focus on “The Chelsea Experience”, telling us about his journey to Chelsea, getting show gardens just right, and life after Chelsea. After the talk, there will be the opportunity to meet Matt Keightley over a glass of wine. The events starts at 7.30pm on Thursday 23rd March at the Lecture Theatre, Alleyn’s School, Townley Road, London SE22 8SU. Tickets are £8 each and can be purchased from Eventbrite or from Jeremy Prescott, 142 Court Lane, London SE21 7EB (cheques payable to “The Dulwich Society” and a stamped addressed envelope please). Non-members of the …

Garden Talk: Silver Lining

I particularly notice silvery foliage in the garden at this time of year. It shines out in the pale wintery light, lifting the garden. The shimmery grey tones provide an elegant accent colour, contrasting with dark, evergreen shrubs as well as rusty browns of dead seed heads and grasses. When there is more colour in the garden, silver goes beautifully with blues, purples, pinks and whites, but even splashes of hot oranges and yellows can look great against silvery grey. The other plus of most silver leaved plants is that they’re drought tolerant, so they tick the eco box too! Here are my favourite evergreen varieties for winter interest. Small shrubs and sub shrubs Ballota pseudodictamnus A pretty little subshrub, with woolly pale green to grey leaves – the sunnier the position, the paler the leaves go. Hard prune in June and it’ll regrow within weeks and have a neat framework throughout winter. Prefers sun and well-drained soil. Looks great with spires of dark blue salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna.’ Convolvulus cneaorum A really useful and stylish …