made to bloom an inner-city garden of structured green rooms
An abundant inner-city garden of structured green rooms is an ode to nature
October and november is the time of the rose in Johannesburg. after the crisp, dry winter, the spring rains rejuvenate the hard soil and the famous jacarandas burst into a crescendo of bold blooms, accompanied by the verdant lush blooms of a rose garden.
It is truly a sight to behold and garden designer shirley Wallington has created a spectacular example of this in the leafy suburb of saxonwold.
shirley had worked on the garden with the previous owners and when the current owners purchased the property along with the vacant site next door, she was delighted to expand her designs. The adjacent property was higher than the existing one, so she created a terraced garden and divided the space into a series of rooms; namely a croquet lawn, a woodland garden for entertaining, an enclosed swimming pool and a pleached Viburnum walk. The clients have a large family and grandchildren so the croquet lawn (an exercise in perfection with nary a weed to be seen) was ideal for children to play and the pool area could be securely fenced. a small vegetable garden provides the kitchen with fresh lettuce
and herbs and a wisteria-covered walkway creates a shady and welcoming entrance to the house. splendid established trees surround the property while shapely conifers are placed at symmetrical intervals to give structure and formality, dividing the garden into rooms along with clipped hedges of Buxus and Abelia x grandiflora.
The rose garden was added quite recently, a profusion of colour and scent that greets one at the entrance to the croquet lawn. This traditional, rather formal design is a hallmark of shirley’s gardens; she favours wild abundance contained within line and structure. The roses are densely planted and enclosed by hedges with a charming sculpture providing a focal point, leading the eye further into the garden. at the same time, large urns and various objects are used to give symmetry and balance to her design. ‘I like using “rooms” in a garden,’ she explains. ‘not only does it offer a sense of mystery and secrecy, but it allows different atmospheres of sun or shade as well as the diverse uses of space.’ It is a garden that invites a person to wander and explore, to marvel at the shadows thrown onto a verdant lawn and then to retreat into a bower to read and reflect. It is Johannesburg at its leafiest, greenest best.
left A wooden pergola covered in wisteria provides shelter And shade At the entrance to the front door below A pretty cutting And vegetable garden leads off the bedroom Area
right and below A metal urn provides A focal point At the end of A tunnel of eugenia opposite page the shade garden has been underplanted with cool, evergreen mondo grass