Landscape Designer Piers Beeching Visits Vivienne Westwood Garden To Discover What It Says About Her

 Vivienne tells me that the front garden is Andreas's responsibility. The charmingly secret space doesn't smack of the rigid formality that typifies many London fronts. Wrought-iron railings conceal layers of rose, camellia and peony foliage, giving the front garden a lovely sophisticated feel. An 8-feet standard bay with an improbably small head on it stands guarding the front door – a south London rebellion against the better-proportioned examples of the front gardens of Chelsea, perhaps. Vivienne picks a perfect ripe apricot from the Prunus armeniaca creeping up the wall at the front of the house and gives it to me. "It doesn't always fruit so well," she says. This year was remarkable for strong spring flowering, she adds, which has resulted in an incredible crop of fruit.

We step into the back garden, bathed in glorious Sunday morning sunshine, and I can immediately sense Vivienne's passion for the subject but while many might proudly reel off a few plant names and discuss their "latest discovery''. Vivienne dives into more abstract territory: "The Chinese were the first, you know," she says, telling me how Chinese culture is shaped by their plants and how they've also filtered into gardens the world over (including this one).

These days, she says, her priorities are focused on liberty and ecology rather than tartan and pirate boots. As such I read her garden, and the way she talks about it, as a potted horticultural reference of her interests and not just a space to look at and sit in. There's an immense variety within the space, which comprises swaths of York stone terracing surrounded by densely planted but balanced borders. 

-Landscape Designer Piers Beeching For The Telegraph                                                                                 


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