June 2021 – Until last month, the mention of Delos would have taken me back to my childhood history book, with pictures of the avenue of lions illustrating accounts of the Delian league’s flawed aspirations to peace. Now, another image superimposes itself over the old one: that of the Priest’s House, in Sissinghurst, overlooking Dan Pearson’s new magical interpretation of Vita Sackville-West’s and Harold Nicolson’s original vision for their Delos garden.
This new planting scheme for a garden in Islington is a tale of two hemispheres, on two counts.
Based in North London, it incorporates a range of plants native to New Zealand, where the owners spent their childhood.
It also has two distinct environments: one side faces south, it is sunny and warm, with well-drained soil, while the other faces north, is in the shade, and the soil remains reliably moist.
But what can appear a challenge in garden design terms is also an opportunity to bring greater variety, while maintaining coherence by playing with shapes and textures.
A Mediterranean border for the south-facing, sheltered corner of an open site at the back of a former vicarage, planted with evergreen drought-tolerant shrubs and perennials for year-round presence.