AN ENGLIGH POSY
heart of Jo’burg
English country garden in the
When the Elliott family moved into their Greenside house, there wasn’t much garden to speak of. “It was all very brown, just lots of aloes, succulents and little else,” explains Suzie Elliott. “The space just didn’t resonate with us at all, but we knew it had potential and that with a bit of help, some careful planning and a fair amount of work, we’d make it our own.”
As the house needed renovating, the Elliotts decided to bite
With careful planning and judicious planting, this small Greenside garden in Jo’burg gained an English country feel
the bullet and get all the mess and inconvenience over with at the same time. “I had a picture in my mind of what I wanted the garden to look like, but knew that I didn’t have the skills
to do it myself,” says Suzie. “I also thought that for the sake of everyone’s sanity, it had to be right the first time, which is why I enlisted the help of landscaper Shirley Wallington. Shirley understood immediately what we needed as a family and what we were looking to achieve in our garden.”
Suzie’s vision was for a pretty, colourful English-style country garden. Added to that, she wanted a place where her two little girls could play, looking for fairies and creating magical worlds. There were also the dogs to consider and the desire to pick as much of their home-grown produce as possible. Her husband, however, wanted lots of green and very little maintenance. “You can see from the result who won that battle!” chuckles Suzie.
“This little garden was quite a challenge,” says Shirley Wallington. The need for structure was obvious from the onset, so Shirley started by dividing it up into different ‘rooms’. She began by constructing a low wall along the driveway and putting in a gate to access the front garden. This helped to contain the dogs and prevent children from running in front of visitor’s cars. “I also cut off the section between the house and the grapevine,” explains Shirley. “Again this was to stop the dogs from running through and to create another, almost private
‘room’ under the vine-covered archway.”
Around the other side of the house, she added another small gate to keep the dogs in the back garden, if needed. That little lane proved to be another tricky part of the build as it was all but blocked by a very overgrown creeper. “I opened it up completely, removing the wayward creeper and laying paving,” says Shirley. “It needed a clear walkway, not only for humans and animals to have access between the front and back garden, but for the more mundane but vital maintenance,” she continues. “I considered where the lawnmower had to go and how it would get there.” For that reason she kept the sloping ground and didn’t build steps. “You find that over time steps will break or chip if you’re constantly hauling a mower over them,” she explains.
Shirley brought in Lizette Nieman from Strylitzia Landscaping to do the hard landscaping and to fill the beds with complementary colours and textures. “We now have somewhere we can spend long sunny afternoons,” beams Suzie.
Growing their own fruit and vegetables also proved to be a hit with the whole family. Suzie explains: “It’s fabulous for the girls to see how food grows. We’ve experimented with all sorts of different veggies from chillies to marrows to beetroot and it’s great fun.”
WHO LIVES HEREJohn and Suzie Elliott, their two daughters, Sophie and Lily, Richie, the Australian Shepherd, Angus, the dachshund, Frankie, the Peke, and Todd, the cat.THE GARDENA small, formal, colourful English cottage garden with space for the children and dogs.
THIS SPREAD, FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: A gate allows access from the driveway to the front garden and keeps the dogs safely contained. There’s a happy balance between space for the children and animals and the colourful beds.
THIS PAGE, FROM TOP: A low, neatly trimmed buxus hedge frames the English cottage plantings. An inspiring mixture of foliage texture, colour and height ensures year-round interest.
THIS PAGE, CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: In keeping with the English feel, there is an abundance of roses. Metal arches were used to train the grapevines. Bushy blue Salvia leucantha lines this secret ‘room’. Blues and greys have a cool, calming effect in this corner of the garden. SOURCES Lizette Nieman Strylitzia Landscaping 082 454 2869 Shirley Wallington email@example.com or 083 750 3998