My Beautiful Neighbourhood

Short version:

Photos of things in gardens and on the streets in my local area that show what grows well in urban gardens, how food can be incorporated into the front garden, how structures can be used and a couple of great ideas for making the most of your space.

E.g. It’s bananas that there is a banana tree here. I’ve not seen fruit on this tree but even it’s existence just makes me incredibly happy.

So… we moved to Streatham for a few reasons:

  • It was further out of London and less polluted. This is a great link if you want live information on pollutants in your local area, right down to the individual streets. https://www.londonair.org.uk/LondonAir/nowcast.aspx
  • We got much more house for the money.
  • We could actually afford a garden. A real one. That has soil.
  • Schools. Turns out a lot of the people who have moved to our area of Streatham have also moved for the schools.

What I didn’t realise until after we moved was how friendly the neighbourhood would be. We actually know, as in have real conversations, with people who live on our road. There’s even a Whatsapp group. I’ve even met people in 3 of the houses in the road parallel. In my 20 years of London living, I never knew such a thing was possible.

As well as the friendly natives, I absolutely love some of the gardens that I’ve seen. So today I’d like to share some of these wonderful things.

If anyone recognises any of these pictures as their property and you’d rather not have the photo up – please do let me know and I’ll take it down.

I love it when people use all the space they can, even in the walls. In the photos below, the dividing walls have planters built in:

I love it when people don’t resign themselves to flora-less gardens when they don’t have bare earth:

I’ve also seen some very clever planters:

Not only are there planters in the gardens but sometimes in Streatham you see planters on pavements with signs saying you can help yourself to the herbs. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of those planters, but I love that these are planters just on the streets:

Sometimes things make it into the streets by themselves. I make a mental note of plants like these. If they seed themselves happily in cracks, then there’s no reason why I wouldn’t also be able to grow them in my own garden.

Sometimes they just spill onto the streets from the gardens.

Here are some more big bushes/trees. I am often surprised by how big a tree you can actually fit in London gardens if it’s slow growing enough and not too close to the building:

Those trees, being so large, would have taken many years to establish. There are some shorter term ways to utilise the vertical space:

There’s also ways to make the most of any space lower down:

You can also incorporate edibles into hedging:

Of course my favourite option is to go all out and just grow edibles in the front garden.

These photos (so far) are all just things you can see from the road so I love to imagine that there’s a plethora of BACK gardens in the area that hide edible treasures and ingenious gardening ideas. Of course I couldn’t get photos without trespassing and probably jail time. I don’t think the defence ‘I’m just really really nosy’ would stand up in court. However… there was a 5th birthday party in a centre that had a fantastic vegetable patch in the back that excited me much more than the bouncy castle!

Finally, just to show that I don’t have a one track mind and can also appreciate a good wild flower meadow:

Actually… I think I might be lying. I love this wild flower meadow because it’s great for bees…and well…. bees are important for anyone who wants to grow their own food. Turns out I really do just have a one track mind. It’s not dirty, but it does think about the composition of dirt quite a bit.

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