AN ENGLIGH POSY

South African Garden and Home - - Contents -

heart of Jo’burg

An

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 shirley@walling­ton.co.za or 083 750 3998

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