A high-im­pact slice of Ja­maica in the city

Wayne Amiel Lon­don Gar­den size 6.5m x 13.5m

Gardeners' World - - Container Style -

A north-fac­ing site, full of builders’ rub­ble, on a dif­fer­ent level to the ground-floor of the house, is what faced Wayne Amiel when he moved into his home in south Lon­don, eight years ago. Un­de­terred by the scale of the chal­lenge, he was de­ter­mined to cre­ate a lit­tle slice of his Ja­maican child­hood in the nar­row gar­den. As if that wasn’t dif­fi­cult enough, buy­ing the house meant there was lit­tle money left to spend on the gar­den, so the whole thing was done on a shoe-string bud­get, when funds al­lowed.

What have you done to make the gar­den?

The first thing I had to do was get rid of the mound of rub­ble, and level the main area of the gar­den. New steps were added, from the back doors up to the gar­den, as be­ing on a hill means the gar­den is on a dif­fer­ent level to the house. These steps are now cov­ered in pots of colour­ful plants and I call it my ‘the­atre of plants’. I added a pa­tio area to­wards the back of the gar­den as, be­ing north fac­ing, that’s the only area that gets any real sun. Be­cause I had such a lim­ited bud­get, I ini­tially cov­ered most of the gar­den with turf, so that the gar­den could evolve as funds per­mit­ted. Some of the first plants I put in the gar­den were some small trees as, in a small gar­den, I think it’s re­ally im­por­tant to add height. I’ve also made use of ver­ti­cal spa­ces with climb­ing plants. There’s a wide range of plants in the gar­den, but I’ve also tried to cre­ate co­he­sion, by re­peat­ing cer­tain plants, like the Hy­drangea ‘Annabelle’. I’ve also had light­ing in­stalled, so I can spend more time en­joy­ing the gar­den in the evenings, when I get home from work.

How have you stretched your bud­get?

I started skip div­ing, hop­ing to find con­tain­ers and other things I might be able to re­use around the gar­den, and was as­ton­ished to find peo­ple throw­ing plants out. I’ve found all sorts, in­clud­ing a gor­geous pur­ple lilac and a tree fern! I’ve also grown lots of plants from seeds and cut­tings.

What have been the big­gest chal­lenges?

Mak­ing a gar­den on a lim­ited bud­get and want­ing a north-fac­ing gar­den to re­mind me of my Ja­maican child­hood. And, for rea­sons that I’ve not been able to solve, ar­eas of my gar­den are wa­ter­logged. I’ve over­come this by plant­ing bog plants, such as ferns, gun­nera, ligu­laria and arum lilies.

What do you love most about your gar­den?

I love the ex­u­ber­ant drama of my gar­den, and the to­tal dis­re­gard for any­thing that could be deemed fash­ion­able! I call it Clapham meets Ja­maica, where bam­boos, tree ferns and fire-bright plants, bed down hap­pily amid the tra­di­tional cot­tage gar­den plants.

Wow! This is a man with lots of vi­sion – it’s a busy gar­den but he’s got the bal­ance just right. I love it Kate Gould

Builders’ rub­ble makes way for lush plant­ing After Enor­mous leaves and bold fo­liage cre­ate a clev­erly-crafted jun­gle feel – it’s all about plants Painted chairs pro­vide an in­ti­mate seat­ing area that also acts as a stylish fo­cal point Dots of colour add high­lights of in­ter­est – Wayne uses these througout the tiny gar­den

Novem­ber 2018

Be­fore

Novem­ber 2018

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