|I have lived in London for over ten years now and have come across many a front garden, from the scruffy and unloved to those with beautiful tiled and box edged paths. This is a completely different type of garden.
This little garden in Penge is a feast for the eyes with its incredible array of exotic and succulent plants.
The owner was kind enough to speak to me about his collection which he has curated from specialist shows and bought from nurseries and online shops.
There are lots of amazing varieties I’ve never seen before, such as this beautiful flowering plant.
This house is in a beautiful area of Penge. It’s a lovely area for a walk to end with a cup of tea and cake at Alexandra Nurseries.
It was inspirational to see someone’s passion for their collection and that they were able to display it so beautifully in a small space.
Have you come across any beautiful, unusual private gardens?
A free Sunday means a stroll down either Brick Lane or Columbia Road. Yesterday, I chose Columbia Road. It’s not especially buggy-friendly, so I left S with his dad and wandered down. It’s amazing how so much bustle and colour can be hidden away until just before you turn the corner into the road itself.
My lovely new shoes!
As I hadn’t been there for a while, I took my time and explored all my favourites. Far Global is a treasure trove of antique pieces from India, including these beautiful turquoise cabinets. They are expensive, but would add amazing character to a room and be a loved heirloom to hand on to the next generation. In fact, I made an enquiry on one and am waiting for an email – I’m thinking it would be perfect for all the craft bits and bobs. It’s a bit smaller in scale to these ones, and has glass doors.
Ryantown, the wonderful Rob Ryan shop didn’t disappoint with lots of beautiful new cut outs and quirky designs. This design almost made me teary:
It’s of a child being comforted by his mother. Somehow (maybe now I’m a mother myself) I found it very poignant.
Next stop was the new (to me anyway) Jessie Chorley shop. She used to have one upstairs, but I think the new shop will get much more footfall and introduce her nostalgic, delicate style to many more people.
That’s me pulling a face in the mirror
As usual the flowers were the biggest draw for most people. People were walking away with armfuls of sunflowers, gladioli, roses and peonies. I love peonies, so brought a bunch home too. I also stopped in at Beyond Fabrics which stocks a great range of fabrics from well known designers e.g. Moda, Alexander Henry, as well as lots of beautiful vintage ribbon reels, and ready made items such as aprons and tea towels. I spotted a blanket by the talented Tree Fall there too.
So if you haven’t been there yet, put Columbia Road down on your To Do list for London, it’s medicine for the jaded urban soul..
A new farmer’s market has just opened a stone’s throw from the house.
It’s at St Matthias School, just off the Bethnal Green Road end of Brick Lane.
The vegetables looked splendid, and were surprisingly inexpensive. And it feels so much better if the money goes straight to the supplier rather than a faceless supermarket chain.
There were lots of tasters there too – delicious bread, cheeses and cakes galore. We bought some goats cheese rolled in garlic and sweet red pepper, and multi seed bread which we had for lunch.
I also wandered back via Cheshire St, and discovered that Shelf were having a big clearout. I got a lovely red bus poster for S’s room, and the most amazing wooden magnetboard (marked down even more than on the site!). I love the twig magnets!