Town Garden - Woolich Arsenal, London
This project is to create a new garden for a town house built in the 1840s in the Woolich Arsenal area of London. The history of the house had focused around the Victorian period when it had been the family home to an officer from Woolich Arsenal and his family.
The Victorian period was a great period for gardening with many new ideas and plants arriving from all over the world, the private garden in homes such as this one, would have been the final destination for all that was new in gardening at that time. Often the gardens in this period centred around buildings and structures that created the feeling of being in a famous landscape such as the city of Rome or a scaled down version of the typical English country landscape as seen in many of constables paintings.
As with a lot of London gardens the soil is very thin. Although a London garden often starts with a clay soil overthe years asses are added from the open fires in the house. Whilst in moderation this is a good solution to breaking up a clay soil often with a London garden the process has gone to far and too much ass has been added creating a soil that is to open and free draining. The solution is to add organic matter in the form of spent mushroom compost and or well rotted farm yard or horse manure. Then depending on the type of plants you wish to grow the addition of lime to counteract the acid effects of the breaking down of the orgainic matter especially in the case of farmyard or horse manure.
A good way to test a London soil is to have a dig around in a few square metres and see how many lob worms you find. Oten you will not find any and will have to add some to help recondition the soil. Lob worms especially are very usedful in breaking down organic matter into himists and incorporating them into the soil.
One of the keys with a small London garden is to design so that you use the maximium amount of available space. With this garden decking was installed to bring the garden around the patio doors and side of the house to one level with the floor of the house removing the steps by simply decking over them with a wooden frame work. This vastly increased the useabe space with in the garden and created a seating area suitable for the summer.
As the garden has a number of existing plants including a camellia another design consideration was to save these plants and use them as a frame work from which to develop a planting scheme that would increase the colour in the garden over a full 12 month period.
For more information and advice on designing a town garden contact the GardenAdvice expert gardeners firstname.lastname@example.org