Chiswick Garden in May

Most people would have been scared off by the first glimpse of the wilderness that was to become Vivien Cantor’s garden. ‘We lived nextdoor, and I used to gaze out of the upstairs window at this overgrown garden, planning and dreaming,’ she recalls. Not long after, the nextdoor house with its L-shaped, quarter-of-an-acre plot was hers. The garden engulfed the house on two sides with huge shrubs, an old Nissan hut and a mound hiding loads of rubbish. After clearing the land, she sought advice from an architect friend who suggested building a gazebo in the centre of the garden, as a means of dividing the space into three ‘rooms’ that were not visible one from another. ‘I learned that the spaces in a garden are as important as the plants.’

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