You can keep your Kews, Wisleys, Munsteads and Great Dixters. My favourite garden is at the end of my street.
It belongs to an elderly neighbour who has tended it and loved it for years, without design manuals, Homes and Gardens magazine or TV makeover programmes. It’s his own, personal, DIY garden, made without spending much money, just as he likes it, with any old bits and pieces that came to hand. He can’t get around so well now, but he still potters and keeps it tidy. It’s unique and wonderful.
Borders are kept in check by bits of Dexion and cement walls studded with pebbles. A few tiles he found were made into a short length of paving. Concrete animals, gnomes and caryatids live under shrubs. A bit of irrigation has been built into his own Manneken Pis.
The fig tree is the statement plant. Windfall apples are too many to be picked up and pattern the path like stars. A shady bench under the trees reminds me of an Italian courtyard garden.
Of course, this is all too posh and high flown. It’s just one man’s private garden. But as it’s on a corner, it’s also public, and I stop and admire it every time I go by.