Grenville's grandfather Mark Johnson who purchased the house in the year 1900.

Grenville’s grandfather Mark Johnson who purchased the house in the year 1900.

The original Victorian garden was probably typical of the countless gardens to be found at the rear of town houses that were built before the end of the 19th century.The original garden consisted of a narrow garden strip to the side of the house with its own entrance from the public pathway, and a small rear courtyard that was planted with what Grenville describes as an uninspiring planting scheme. The garden now measures 20 feet by 18 feet and consist of two levels. As a child, Grenville remembers his regular visits to his grandparents in the house at 28 Kensington Road, when the house was lit by gas and had coal fires.

Grenville’s grandparents purchased the property in 1900 after their wedding, and he inherited the house from his grandmother in 1972, and the house has remained in the same family for over 100 years.Until 1972 the garden was smaller than now, as there was an outdoor Victorian ‘privy’ or toilet and a washhouse that was demolished in 1972 to give more space. There were narrow borders that were filled with Lilies of the valley and Dahlias, and drab concrete paths that led from the house.

There was no interest for the autumn or winter seasons, but this style of gardening was typical for the majority of suburban gardens from the years after the war.

It was not until the advent of television and the growing popularity of gardening programmes and magazines in the 1990’s that gardening became more popular.

After inheriting the house, the first garden to be built in 1976 by  Grenville was designed as an Italianate courtyard that was very easy to maintain.

The garden has continued to evolve and develop to the present day.

Here are some hints and tips that might prove helpful when you are planning, designing, or maintaining your garden:-

  • What type of garden do you wish to create, maintain, and develop?
  • The location of the garden – Is the garden located in full sun or a shaded position?
  • What type of soil does the garden area have?
  • Will you use organic methods to feed and maintain the garden?
  • Think about watering the garden or water conservation issues ?
  • Is the garden open to the elements of wind, rain, frost or snow?
  • Do you want to develop a Wildlife friendly garden e.g. A garden that attracts Bees, Butterflies and other pollinating insects, birds, amphibians, hedgehogs etc
  • Is the garden in a ‘safe’ location, or is it overlooked?
  • Will you include  a Pond or water features?
  • Do you want a garden area designated for growing food / edible crops?
  • Consider the use of Colour, Pattern, Texture and Form (height and structure) in your choice of flowers or plants.
  • Will you use Perennial planting schemes?
  • Decide whether it will be a high or low maintenance garden, and will you need to disguise the boundaries of the garden to make it private and secluded, and make it appear larger?
  • Will the garden be a place for relaxation/ dining and drinking – think about tables and seating?
  • Will you incorporate areas when you can stop, ponder, and contemplate?
  • A ‘learning garden’ where you try new ideas or experiment with new types of plants
  • Plan for the garden with areas or domains that suit the plants (e.g. sunny or shaded areas)
  • Think about drainage in the garden ‘hard landscaping’- e.g. footpaths or fences
  • Avoid hard paved areas where water cannot filter through, or leave gaps in paving or use gravel
  • Think about the seasonal changes to the garden
  • Keep a photographic record or video diary to show the garden evolves and develops over time
  • Do you wish to incorporate child friendly areas where they can participate with gardening tasks, or will children have a designated play area?