Phantom Favourite Front Gardens (7)

Greenwich Millennium Village

Front gardens are a state of mind. Sometimes they’re not actually on ground level. Or classically laid-out. Or even at the front. My favourites are not always bursting over with flowers (that one in Whitworth St, for example, full of plastic gnomes, plaster fairies and faux wishing wells lifts my heart every time I walk past) but they all have that something that makes me look twice. That makes my imagination work. In the case of this particular roof garden on the Peninsula my delight is in what I can’t see.
What’s up there? It’s clearly a terrace to be used. A combination of evergreens and palms, chosen for architectural restraint and ease of upkeep provides an elegant basic backdrop for whatever the owners want to do up there. I’ll wager it’s not gardening. And that’s absolutely fine. If I had the view that they must have, I’d want to use the area for parties, swanky events and get-togethers. It’s a social space. I like to think parasols and sun-loungers. Hell – for all I know there could be a swimming pool up there.
I love it for the way it teases my imagination. I have images of a mini Kensington Roof Gardens up there, of fairy-lit champgane soirees and secluded romantic moments. Those wooden fences could hide anything. Even the brutalist air vent-y thing works against this restrained, carefully chosen garden.
There’s a well-worn rule in garden design that dictates the maker should ensure the viewer never sees everything. That they are left to always imagine there’s more, to force them to use their fantasies. This garden succeeds in spades. I have no idea what’s up there and I don’t want to know.
Oh and by the way I especially don’t want to know if it’s really full of kiddies’ sand pits, paddling pools and rotary clothes-dryers, like everyone else’s. Let a Phantom dream on this sunny Friday morning…

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