Favourite Front Gardens (3)

A totally different favourite today. I always adore walking past number 39 Whitworth St for its sheer exuberance. There’s no fancy topiary shapes, no gorgeous country cottage charm, no formal splendour. Instead, behind the neat picket fence and fancy edging over a gravel base, bursts a veritable explosion of artificial flowers, jolly statuettes of animals, scarecrows, windmills and, of course, the nigh-on obligatory garden gnomes.

I am sure it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but for me this is an expression of someone’s personality that is just as exciting and valid as some of my other favourite gardens in Greenwich. This is a person who knows their own taste and is confident enough to absolutely go with it. No wishy-washy single gnomes or discreet plastic flowers masquerading as the real thing. The owner of this front garden likes the colour and vibrancy of artificiality and clearly gets a lot of pleasure from the concentration of baskets, pots and novelty boots full of giant faux-flowers, something I would argue is probably the only way to really ‘get away’ with such a look. The window box is crammed full of colour, and every corner of this minute space gleams with the zing of perky blooms.

How much more do I like this kind of thing than the garden that says nothing at all. The person who doesn’t give a stuff about what they look like; the owner who leaves a pile of old fridges and broken armchairs in the front; the one who seems to think that leaving last year’s hanging basket half-full of dead flowers will do; the person who makes a bit of effort but is so timid they end up saying very little.

I love all gardens that have had some thought. They might not be what I would have chosen – but they’re not my space, they are someone else’s and that person has had the courage to make a statement. And it is in the collection and variety of these individual statements that we find Community…

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