Crystal Palace

Limekiln Place, Crystal Palace, London SE19

Category 11: Best Gardens / Restoration / Development Project Award

The gardens and grounds are communal ones. There is a sloping bank with kerbed borders surrounding the winding drive to the houses. The borders are a mix of shrubs and perennials, ground cover shrubs and large shrubs and existing trees within the borders. The gardens have dense woodland shade and full sun.

When I first visited the site, it was mounds of green growth just wavy lines with no space or distinction between plants. The plants were hedge trimmed in the past and because access was difficult to reach so formed waves of shrubs and had an overgrown entangled look with bindweed.

Location Requirements

  • Restoration 58% 58%
  • Development 25% 25%
  • Maintenance 30% 30%

Gallery – Now

Aims and objectives

As Contract Manager, it was important that staff and clients could appreciate the results of the garden and had a deep sense of achievement with patience and days when weather was difficult that tasks were adapted to suit. I had regular contact with my resident contact as well as discussion with passing residents.

My Aim for the site was to define all the plants so they could be displayed and appreciated for the seasonal interest for space and light. Using good horticultural practices, the plants responded with flowering, keeping winter interest in finding the design.

To work through the grounds with the priority of keeping up with the maintenance on restored and restoring areas.

I split the visit in half so straight away but visiting twice a month. It was a contract local to where I lived and that we can keep up to speed the better-maintained areas while working on the restoration of overgrown plants in the grounds.

There is heavy leaf fall so leaves to be utilised and returned to the border 4 weeks of the year I split our time for weekly visits for leaf clearance and mulching only.

There was a slope and a great opportunity to see naturalised plants as you looked upward also on a low level as well as taller perennials and annuals. There were rocks that had been part of the design but were very hidden.

The grounds were to become a beautiful woodland garden with colour in the shade as well as the sunny areas. I aimed also that people felt safer walking through the path by reducing the size of the shrubs and visually are seen and can see openly around them in this small secluded area.

Waste has been neatly piled in the grounds themselves at the back of the large borders and will break down over the next couple of years. It is a friendly place for insects, bird’s mammals and fungi.

My environmental initiatives have been the use of the leaves and keeping mixed naturalised plants where they are in a way that they seem part of the scheme…Dandelions, Urban Geums, Pulmarias that are a particular favourite.

Gallery – Before

Planning & Execution

My plan was to work on one area treating every plant individually clearing weeds and pruning damaged and congested branches. Break these areas into sections I had a team of three one would tidy and weed the 3 prominent areas while two worked on the larger areas.  There was also a very old Rhododendron that had an amazing beautiful trunk that would be criminal not to be seen, this is a focal point.

The soil is clay and loam and with a pan in some areas. As we have improved the site a priority was to mulch the leaves, so we acquired a mechanical mulching machine and have directly mulched the main borders for instant effect and organic improvement this has been very successful.

We had a problem with bindweed that we did battle with perseverance and help with the weather we have been successful with just individually cleaning any bindweed growth manually and weakening if time was not on our side I would remove flowers as soon as possible. The weather plays a big part in tackling this weed but should become be easier each year.

Miranda Munday MCI Hort PGCA

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Restore – Develop – Maintain