Gar­den of the Week

The artis­tic owner of this fab­u­lous gar­den re­ally loves her plants and has pro­vided a haven for wildlife in the Liver­pool sub­urbs

Garden News (UK) - - Contents - Words Val Bourne Pho­tos Neil Hep­worth

Pat Wil­liams gar­dens in the leafy Vic­to­rian sub­urb of Sefton in Liver­pool. Her dou­ble-fronted, Vic­to­rian villa, which is also a highly-rated B & B, has a small front gar­den and a slightly larger, sun­nier walled back gar­den that’s planted with fo­liage in mind.

When Pat ar­rived in 1983 the whole area was run down and de­pressed. There had been riots in nearby Tox­teth in 1981 and many nearby houses were derelict or ne­glected. How­ever, the Gar­den Fes­ti­val of 1984, in­sti­gated by Michael He­sel­tine, at­tracted more than three mil­lion vis­i­tors and kick-started the re­gen­er­a­tion of this Vic­to­rian sub­urb.

Pat grew up on Lord Derby’s es­tate at St He­lens, a few miles north east of Liver­pool, and she be­gan gar­den­ing as a child. She was the el­dest of seven and fam­ily life was happy, but hec­tic. “I used to roam through the wa­ter mead­ows and woods and run along the stream be­cause in those days chil­dren were al­lowed to wan­der,” she says.

Pat went on to train as a teacher of art and de­sign. She has an artis­tic eye and her gar­den re­lies on strong ar­chi­tec­tural shapes and bold fo­liage, with a smat­ter­ing of mainly pink and yel­low flow­ers. Pat grows most of her flow­ers on her nearby al­lot­ment and she also raises plants for her gar­den­ing open­ings up there.

She had been house-sit­ting for four years, just a quar­ter of a mile away, be­fore she moved in and clearly loves the area. “I’m sand­wiched be­tween Sefton Park and Princes Park,” she ex­plains, “and it’s a won­der­ful area of the city to live in.”

She re­calls wheel­ing round four bar­rowloads of plants when she moved here. “The gar­den was im­mac­u­lately kept, with a lawn sur­rounded by very nar­row bor­ders. There was a hideous con­crete garage and a small alu­minium green­house. We had two derelict houses be­hind us and an empty house next door.

“The gar­den had five-foot high

brick walls round much of it, so the first thing I did was to add posts and barbed wire and I planted roses and co­toneaster.” This was partly to block the view, partly for pri­vacy and partly for se­cu­rity. Pat cov­ered the un­sightly garage with the mile-a-minute Rus­sian vine ( Fal­lopia bald­schuanica), although ‘that’s long gone’.

The brick walls be­gan to be planted up straight away and brick pil­lars were added later, a present from Pat’s late hus­band, who died in 2004. “Colin was a bon­sai man,” Pat says, “and we’ve in­cluded his ac­ers and other trees in the gar­den so it has a Ja­pa­nese feel in cer­tain ar­eas.”

Colin also built a square, for­mal pond, shortly af­ter they moved in, and this still at­tracts lots of wildlife. This is good news

Gar­dener Pa­tri­cia Wil­liams Lo­ca­tion Sefton Villa, 14 Sefton Drive, Sefton Park, Liver­pool, Mersey­side L8 3SD Been in gar­den Since 1983 Size of gar­den Back: 9 x 22m (30x 22ft); front: 13 x 9m (43x30ft) Soil Neu­tral to slightly acid Sit­u­a­tion Walled,...

The old Vic­to­rian brick walls are the per­fect back­drop to Pat’s plants. Framed by a cer­cis tree are pre­dom­i­nantly pink, pur­ple and yel­low blooms

Left, achil­lea and leu­can­the­mum make the per­fect combo and, right, cer­cis ‘For­est Pansy’ is a sun-lov­ing tree with glo­ri­ous leaves

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.