The Phantom’s Favourite Front Gardens (6)

The Fan Museum, Crooms Hill, SE10

Ok, folks, I’m being all fluffy again today and waxing lyrical about a lovely little secret corner of Greenwich which many pass by (its being slightly set away from the road) and yet adds, in its quiet way, a little moment of happiness for me – and, I hope, others who pass by. Aaahhh…

After yesterday’s entry which is more likely to be seen by locals than tourists, todays, I’ll bet, gets viewed by visitors and the rest of us only notice it when our mums are visiting…

As you will probably know by now I’m most impressed by front yards that have very little obvious potential, but which their owners have not given up on – the one in Angerstein Lane that has virtually no light, for example – or the tiny one in Maze Hill that most would think was far too small for a formal landscape – or even the one at St Alfege’s Passage that has no ‘garden’ at all.

Basements – however pretty the houses themselves might be – can be excuses for doing nothing – no one’s going to notice so why bother? So it’s double joy when someone does something good with one.

Now, admittedly, if you’re going to have a basement front garden, Crooms Hill ain’t a bad place to have it – but I always get a little frisson of pleasure whenever I pass the Fan Museum and look down. Giant sword ferns and potted evergreens jostle with hanging baskets of annuals and what looks suspiciously like an overgrown house plant. The little cast iron table and chairs(which may or may not belong to the people next door – I don’t care – it’s the overall effect through that arch that counts and if neighbours can co-operate to create a nice view for the rest of us I’m not complaining) looks wonderfully inviting even if no one ever sits in it and even practical things like the security bars at the window, the floodlight and the rolled hose are part of the pleasure of this place.

The Phantom smiles serenely.


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