The stunning garden at 69 Salisbury Grove in Mytchett
PUBLISHED: 10:45 02 September 2019
For something a bit unexpected, take a visit to 69 Salisbury Grove in Mytchett, where art and sculpture inform the garden in a delightfully fun way
Home to glass artist, Juliette Derwent, 69 Salisbury Grove is a rather eclectic collaboration between plants and sculpture, with a distinctive Delft blue theme. "I bought the Victorian terrace house in December 2004 and the garden was the main attraction due its size in relation to quite a small house, but was rather a mess, it was divided into different areas but had been untended for quite a while. A lot of clearing was required, my lovely sister helped me a lot, and there was a horrible bamboo, which had run riot. However the bus shelter and the large fish-pond which is sadly gone now, were lovely features," recalls Juliette.
A keen gardener, with an RHS level 2 certificate in horticulture, the planting came first, mostly in containers brought from her previous house. "I'm an enthusiastic visitor of garden shows, such as Chelsea and Hampton Court, which fuelled my collection of pots and garden décor. I started 'terracotta gardening' in my second house where it was pretty impossible to plant anything due to a row of very mature beech trees located in the garden next-door. I think pots encourage other garden ornaments and I started decorating the garden with a 'Dutch dresser' potting bench bought in Holland and ornamental urns. When I moved here I needed two moving lorries; one for the house, one for the garden!" she explains.
The garden, which faces east-west and is shaded by a large pine, evolved in three phases, starting with clearing up and adding a patio by the house, then removing a tin shed and the pond liner in the middle of the garden which was replaced with a summerhouse and gravel area. The final stage was the removal of the big pond and another patio was put in at the far end of the garden. Plants are in containers, spreading down the long garden, and include showy hydrangeas, impatiens, grasses and a range of maples. "I concentrate on the plants that I know I can grow. I've become rather an acer-addict. 'Little Princess' is definitely the best one to start with if you are new to acers. It isn't too fussy and grows like a weed! I also love grasses although I think some of mine would prefer more sun. I've ditched my lilies I'm afraid to say as the lily beetle situation was too demoralising and the flowers don't last long enough. I've replaced with more roses and I love hybrid teas even though I know they are less popular nowadays," Juliette comments.
What sets this garden apart however is the quirky incorporation of art and sculptural detailing. "I never really realised I had any creative tendencies apart from gardening until I visited The Seedpod Studio in Johannesburg, South Africa when I was fortunate to live there for eight months during a work placement. There I discovered painting bisque and creating mosaics. When I returned to the UK, I tried stained glass and then fused glass. It's a very addictive hobby that I've managed to turn into a very small business now. I started collecting garden crafts and art for real during 2016 as I got rather bored with the usual stuff at the garden centres and shows and wanted more unique pieces. Plus I had become more aware of the importance of handmade and the uniqueness of it plus making my own ornaments meant I really wanted more craft and art pieces," she explains.
Juliette started opening the garden through the National Garden Scheme last year. "I was really nervous but everyone was very kind and when someone says that it's given them ideas and they loved it, well that made it worthwhile indeed. I'm genuinely honoured to have been accepted into the NGS - it's a wonderful institution," she comments. You may also be accompanied as you wander through the garden by another frequent visitor, a rather tame and inquisitive robin, who kept an eye on me as I photographed. Visitors also have the opportunity to purchase some of Juliette's glass garden sculptural pieces. Small hanging decorations are made from moulds filled with ground glass which have been fused in the kiln and there are also garden plaques known as Fractaala, made from murrini or pieces of chopped cane that are set on iron stands made by a local blacksmith. "Each Fractaala is named after an island around the world, something within the piece will resonate with its island name, and is completely unique," Julliette adds. "Each is engraved accordingly on the reverse side. Many murrini must be made before they are then placed together and fused twice. They can withstand all weathers although it may be an idea to remove the plaque from the stand if a gale is forecast."
- 69 Salisbury Grove, Mytchett, Camberley, GU16 6DA
- Home-made teas and glass pieces available for purchase - small leaves start at £13 going up to Fractaala plaques at up to £995. Visits also by arrangement from June to Sept for groups of up to 20
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