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

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