See Tree Gardens Prizes to see how Ockendon Road's Tree Gardens did in the Islington in Bloom competition!
You may have noticed that we were unusually busy over the dark winter months, preparing and edging the new beds around our four young trees. We have also explored a new technique to deal with beds (mostly at the Essex Road end) where the rising tree roots stopped us from edging with tiles or bricks. Tessa's wooden panels, with judicially positioned uprights, made it possible to raise the level, and created a box to take sufficient earth for workable planting. The 20 sacks of good topsoil we retrieved from a re-modelled front garden (a big thank you, Jackie & Simon) provided the finishing touch. The other innovation this year is themed planting. One of the new beds (67) is a herb garden; others have specific colours.
We have always aimed at variety in plants and treatment, and this takes the process a little further. Extra shrubs - to provide the perennial underpinning - have already gone in and the summer planting of annuals is underway. All of that is courtesy of a splendid garden centre near Harlow. Last year we were called to account by the 'colour police' for improper coordination. A non-gardener might think that everything in nature would be, well, naturally harmonious. However, the sweet-pea, already climbing skywards (28) - as it has done for at least the past seven years - set off visual fireworks when seen with the geraniums alongside last summer. No excuses this time that neither was in flower when we put in the geraniums. This time, we have hired a 'colour taster' from Dulux to ensure that whatever is planted next to the sweet-pea promotes inner peace in all who pass by.
The great blocks of jasmine embracing two of the trees are already flowering and will soon spread their smell down half the street. After the lengthy periods of first rain and then sun, everything else is girding itself up for what we are sure is going to be the street's best display yet (See also the Garden Gallery). Our application for the Islington in Bloom competition [and hence 'London in Bloom' as well] has already gone in. The first judging, by Islington Gardeners, will take place between 7-16 June, with the final look at the shortlisted sites on Tuesday 24 June.
Julie, Tessa, Tony - 12 May 2008