There are few back gardens that are more girly, more magical and more trendy than Laetitia Maklouf’s west London plot. The author of The Virgin Gardener only started work on her plot when she moved there in February of this year, and in just seven months, she has created a beautiful cutting garden, a gorgeous fruit and vegetable patch and exquisite planted containers.

‘The garden is large and was just laid to lawn,’ she says. ‘I remember going out there in the freezing cold and looking around and feeling totally intimidated.

‘I had never had a proper garden before and the possibilities were just totally overwhelming.’


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But Laetitia had no choice but to get moving with her new garden: she had accepted a commission to write a book on creating a garden from scratch, and so she set to work.

‘In the end I went with my gut feeling and focused on bringing some sort of formality to this very irregular shape and my style of planing, which is extremely wafty,’ Laetitia says. ‘I’m a plant fanatic rather than a designer-ish person so the garden was never going to be a calming sea of three or four plants.’

She describes her garden as ‘ramshackle’, which is unfair as it really is wafty in a rather beautiful way. Let’s call it gorgeously raffish. On the wall of her shed, she has stuck her collection of plant labels, like a shoeaholic displaying her collection.

Oh, and when you come to mention it, shoes are also quite a feature in this garden too…

Aside from shoes and labels, the real plants are an airy-fairy, sweet selection of delphiniums, rock roses, philadelphus, Euphorbia mellifera, achillea, stachys, Lychnis coronaria, nicotiana, love-in-a-mist, catmint, lavender and box. There are also beautiful, voluptuous roses: ‘The Alnwick’, ‘Eglantyne’ and ‘Winchester Cathedral’.

If you want to know more about how Laetitia set up this beautiful garden from scratch, you’ll be thrilled to learn that her new book comes out in March 2012. Meanwhile, snap up a copy of The Virgin Gardener, or read her excellent blog, where she writes about her beautiful garden, her beautiful babety, and her exquisite recipes for sweet cicely custard and lemon verbena ice cream.

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3 Responses

  1. Brieanne Barton

    i just picked up the virgin gardener at the library last week! it’s such a fantastic resource, i think i need to buy it for my own library – such creative ideas! cannot wait to see how she started a garden from complete scratch!

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