My Spitalfields garden
Maybe you have wondered what kind of garden I have, where I plant my Columbia Road purchases each week? Let me say, it is a privilege to have a garden in the centre of London – even if it is a small one like mine here in Spitalfields. Before I began to renovate last year, it was overgrown with evergreen shrubs and bamboo interspersed with those white quartz chips you see in graveyards.
To start, it took me a week to sieve the soil and remove the stone chips. Then I dug out the ugly shrubs and spent weeks squatting in the rain pulling out every tiny stubborn rhizome of bamboo until my fingers bled. Next, I mulched the soil with barrows of well-rotted manure that I wheeled down the road from the Spitalfields City Farm. Finally, I laid out a small central square of beach pebbles and bordered it with scallop shells kindly provided by Mr Button, the fishmonger in the Roman Road.
There is an old tree creating a canopy over my garden and I love looking out of the first floor windows into it – I can watch squirrels and even the occasional woodpecker from my desk. However, the tree means my garden gets little sun or rain and I have to choose plants accordingly.
Although I have planted shade tolerant plants, disappointingly many never came to flower this year and I understand now why my predecessors planted shrubs. But there’s no going back and, through self-selection, I am discovering the right plants for my garden. In particular, Foxgloves thrive and, as you can buy them at the Coppermill Market in Cheshire Street for a pound each, I have been planting them en masse in every corner I can find.
Next spring, you will see the results.