Ethereal garden beds are on their way to Charlton House’s front lawn

14 August 2023

If you live local to Charlton, you may have noticed that there’s been some changes to the garden beds in our front lawn. Between drought weather last summer and a bitterly cold winter, conditions have been tough for weather-sensitive plants.

Our head gardener Jason Sylvan is taking action. Jason’s the mastermind behind our beautifully vibrant Old Pond Garden, which is not only stunning throughout the year but designed to be hardy in increasingly unpredictable weather.

So what does Jason have planned?

Step one – the palm trees. These were originally planted as small decorations for a feature piece about 15 years ago, but they took root and grew, and weren’t particularly friendly to the other plants in their beds. With a variety of saws and a lot of garden volunteer elbow grease (plus a bit of help from the film production on site last April), these palms have finally been taken out to make room for plants made for this climate and with longer life cycles.

Step two – the shield. Though a lovely modern centrepiece, filling out the shield is high cost both financially and environmentally, requiring extensive watering – and the look isn’t consistent with the House’s history. While the shield has been allowed to grow out to support local critters as they nested in the spring and prepare for this winter’s hibernation, Jason will shortly be mowing it down as a green play spot for local children.

Step three – Jason and the team have brought the beds closer together to focus the view of the House more centrally, making them enjoyable all in one view and bringing them in line with a more traditional Jacobean mansion look. The plants are babies at the moment, and some of the old beds’ grass is still filling out. But Jason expects the full vision will be in place by next summer’s wedding season.

What can you expect to see next summer?

Jason has drawn inspiration for the front lawn beds from two of his artistic heroes: French painters Claude Monet and Georges Seurat. He’s planted an ethereal watercolour wash of blue, purple, and pink perennials, with points of yellow throughout.

All of the plants are accustomed to varied climates like ours, and are also good pollinators to support bees and our neighbouring gardens.

Take a look at the beds today for a preview – you’ll find young festuca glauca (evergreen blue grass), irises, marjoram, and yellow echinacea paradox.

What about the changing weather?

Like with the Old Pond Garden, Jason is specifically sourcing hardy, drought-tolerant plants. That means that when it does need watering, which is rare, all of the beds together only need 80 litres of water.

What’s next?

Jason knows how much our community and our wedding couples love our front arch, so he’s currently hard at work on plans for possible planting around its base. Whatever he come up with, you can trust that it’ll be beautiful – and good for our planet.

Want to join our mighty team of garden volunteers? Get in touch with the Charlton and Blackheath Amateur Horticultural Society.