The garden at 5 Burbage Road, London SE24, is inward-looking, sheltered, and above average in size for a town garden. It is divided into several sections with paths, screens, evergreen trees and shrubs to disguise its rectangular shape, blur the boundaries, and provide a strong structure to lend stasis to the whole.
There are parts of the garden in deep shade, hot sunny spaces and areas thickly mulched with gravel. This diversity allows for a wide range of plants to be grown, many of which are on the tender side but flourish in the sheltered environment: Drimys, Prostanthera, Bergenia emiensis, Iochroma australis (a rare small tree with astonishing blue flowers), Salvias, and olives are examples. Great use is made of scented plants: Daphne, Sarcococca, Viburnum, and many roses. The planting is dense with a great variety of leaf shape and texture, perennial flowers, and self-sown wild flowers are allowed in with caution. All sorts of moveable containers are used, including pots and birdbaths by well-known potters. An autumn planting of bulbs gives a regular spring display of tulips, narcissus, fritillaries and cyclamen.
The garden has been photographed by, among others, Jonathan Buckley, Hugh Palmer, Marianne Majerus, Patrick Lichfield and Nicola Stocken. Design ideas by garden designer Jill Panni have been incorporated into the garden, for example the lovely shady zig-zag path. Refer to the National Gardens Scheme Yellow Book for information about open days. Private visits are by appointment and visits by groups from the UK and abroad are frequently arranged.
The photographs of the garden are by Nicola Stocken.
‘Planter’s Palette: A painter’s eye and an appreciation of structural form combine in the beguiling city garden of botanical artist Rosemary Lindsay [who has] …transformed the space from an ordinary rectangular patch to a rich and diverting arrangement of three primary garden rooms…there is a sense of walking through the garden to discover it.’
Vivienne Hambly in The English Garden Special Issue on Four Artists’ Gardens.
‘...a garden that is intriguing, enclosing, lush and beautifully balanced…Take a notebook. It’s that kind of garden.’
Anna Pavord in The Independent Magazine.
‘Her artistic talents, together with a previous training as an architect, have transformed what could have been a dull, if large, suburban garden into a stunning and inspiring place.’
[The late] Elspeth Thompson in The Times Magazine.
‘Formal structure and clever design bring this suburban plot to life. Organising the space into discrete sections…means the garden doesn’t reveal itself all at once, inviting you to wander through, taking in one vista after another.’
‘There’s something exciting to see at every turn in this much-loved city garden. Clever planting means…interest in the garden at every time of the year.’
Nicola Stocken in House Beautiful.
‘As an award-winning botanical artist, Rosemary Lindsay is used to working up close and personal with plants and brings the same forensic attention to detail in her garden in Herne Hill.’
‘Painting with Plants’ by Abigail Willis in The City Planter (On-line only)