Second Place!!

At the prestigious Annual Garden Square Awards last Thursday we received second prize in the keenly contested Small Private Square category. Only those squares who have won a prize are invited so we knew we had secured at least third but it was a great pleasure to hear we had actually won second place!

All thanks must go to the team of Peter, Jean and Maz who worked so hard to get the garden in such fine shape for the judging weekend last June. Second prize is one better than our previous best showing (in 2006) and the gardening team think that going one better is not out of reach. Bring on 2012…

Christmas Carol Party

We’re having our annual Christmas Carol Party on Monday, 12th December at 6:45pm. All square residents and their guests are welcome to come and enjoy the mulled wine and minced pies… just bring your singing voice.

Hats not required

As in previous years the Salvation Army Band has kindly agreed to come and play we have invited a group of soldiers from the Hyde Park Barracks to supplement our singing efforts.

Continue reading Christmas Carol Party

Autumn Planting continued… Trees

The time for final decisions on tree planting is definitely upon us. Planting now will give any new trees the best chance for a full growing season next year.

The original plan called for a Princeton elm to be planted in the NE corner where it would be very close to the maturing Turkey Oak and the large Lime. A better suggestion was to develop the area based on the silver birch that’s already in place.

We will plant 4 more silver birches to fill the gap and create the effect of a ‘drift’ of these elegant trees. The exact site for each tree will be decided when they are in hand. One will most likely go where the Cyclamen is now, the white flower set at the base to reflect off the silver birch bark. We are confident that they will add light and interest to a relatively dark area of the square.

We will still plant a Princeton Elm on the north side of the square but our focus is now on finding a suitable site to the west of the gate.

Finally… some photos of Autumn colour:

Autumn colour from one of our acers

Autumn Planting and Future Plans

Jean and Maz at work
Jean and Maz putting finishing touches to the main flowerbed

A few of the changes planned for Autumn:

  • Thin out the main flower bed, dividing and transplanting where necessary. Plant a section of purple Heuchera to add contrast.
  • Wildlife Area: Plant 4-6 more small birches to create the feel of a natural looking glade. Add to existing planting with nectar rich and berrying plants to encourage a diverse insect population. Move the Viburnam to the edge
  • Allow the Hyrdangeas by the south gate a season or two to establish and intersperse with 3-5 acers
  • Add a third large fern, to be grouped with the other 2 in the south plant bed
Winter Planting
Dark coloured heuchera planted in the main flower bed

Autumn Committee Meeting

Here is a summary of the items discussed at our Autumn meeting:

We’re winners! Montpelier Square has placed in the top three in the annual Garden Square competition. Our exact position (Gold, Silver or Bronze) will be announced at the prize giving on November 2nd at the Guildhall. Our gardening team and Lady Marshall have every right to feel a glow of pride as we were competing against 50 other squares. We’re hoping to improve on our third place showing in 2006.

The annual budget for extra planting is to be increased to £2000 from £1500 in order to bring some Autumn colour to the garden. Our finest time is always Spring and we are hoping to extend colour and interest further through the gardening year with this additional planting.

Westminster City Council have requested that we plant two additional London Plane trees on the North side of the garden. The London Plane is a magnificent tree and they help define some of the best avenues in London but their sheer size can overwhelm a small space like Montpelier Square so Westminster have acquiesced to our suggestion of planting an Elm instead. They still want one Plane but a compromise has been reached. To this end we are looking to plant a Princeton elm this autumn, somewhere on the NE corner of the square.


Donations Welcome!

...but please check first.

Our garden is in good shape this Autumn but we are always looking to make improvements. One of our main costs is additional plants and containers. Every year there will be inevitable casualties especially among the perennial spring flowers and we are constantly replacing them. If you have bulbs or plants that you cannot use, are in good condition, and you think would be useful to the gardeners then please consider donating them.

Many of the flowers and shrubs already in place started life on the terrace of a Montpelier Square house. To give just a few examples, much of the spring colour was planted by Lady Marshall, one of the tree ferns came from Mrs Bradbury and when our long-serving secretary Mrs Fletcher left the square she donated a whole series of fine shrubs.

Of course not every gift might be suitable due to soil conditions, shade tolerance or flowering season. Please talk to any of the gardeners or Lady Marshall if you are unsure of the suitability of a plant. Or email a photo to .

Water Crisis Averted

Hurrah! The irrigation system is back online. Auto-Rain have disconnected zones 3&4 and the rest of the zones are working fine. In a week or two problem zones should be repaired too.

The garden has been without a working irrigation system during one of the warmest and driest Aprils I can remember. Peter and the team from Garden Associates and Lady Marshall have been watering the newly planted shrubs by hand but this was only ever going to be a stopgap measure so we are all very relieved that the system is running again. Continue reading Water Crisis Averted

Irrigation Alert

water leak jpg Our irrigation system has a leak and is currently out of action. We’re hoping it’ll be restored to health by mid-May and a little rain in the meantime wouldn’t hurt.

Our water experts are Auto-Rain Irrigation and they found the initial leak when de-winterising the system in March. Our system is constructed of (now old-fashioned) PVC pipes and at some point over the winter a careless spade or fork has shattered a section of the main water pipe. Continue reading Irrigation Alert

All Change at Montpelier Square

On April 1st after 20 years of service Spike Jackson stepped down as gardening contractor. The current fine state of the garden owes much to his and Lady Marshall’s efforts over those two decades.

Our new contractor is Robert Player, an expert in London garden squares. He manages over 20 other gardens and he brings a brisk, professional attitude that is immediately bearing fruit.

His team have already cleared away an overgrown section of Snowberry that had threatened to completely overwhelm the NW corner of the garden (where the swing used to be).

The gardens Mr Player manages are regular prize winners in the annual Square Gardens competition and he feels that our garden has potential just waiting to be unlocked.