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Spruce up your London garden with Amy Cooper

Posted at 8:45 am, May 13, 2012 in Arts & Entertainment

Kitchen gardenFed up with that barren patch at the back of your house? We asked a green-fingered guru for ideas on how to turn a wasteland into Arcadia

The kitchen garden

Amy Cooper runs www.secretseedsociety.com, a mail order seed- and bookshop which aims to engage children in food growing via illustrated stories with quirky characters, recipes and activities

‘We’re using a mixture of seeds, seedlings and plants to provide a productive and colourful garden. We’ve installed raised beds, and packed them with delicious vegetables and edible flowers. We’ve chosen vegetable varieties which will crop prolifically and add structure and colour to the garden. We’ve tried to make the most of vertical space – trellising will support crops of peas and beans, an arbor of grape vines creates an attractive entrance and the remaining wall space will be bearing apples and blackberries within a year.

We’ve also installed a worm café [an easy-to-use wormery for composting food waste], a water butt and composter to make it self-sufficient, hose pipe ban-proof and cheap to maintain. ‘We’ve planted a wide range of fruit, vegetables and herbs, which wouldn’t require too much care; rainbow chard seed is easy to grow, provides lots of colour and food throughout winter, and tolerates shade. “Celebration” runner beans produce lovely pink flowers to add some brightness at the end of a shady garden, while “Milan” purple top turnips are quick to mature and a good colour. I’d particularly recommend using tomatoes instead of flowers for hanging baskets; “Tumbler F1” grow early, with heavy fruits cascading beautifully.’

For more info about this garden and stockists for the plants listed, see secretseedsociety.com.

For more inspiration, see ‘Spruce up your London garden with Laetitia Maklouf‘, ‘Spruce up your London garden with Christopher Raeburn‘ and check out Time Out’s London’s best garden centres feature.

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