Merton In Bloom


After a night of rainfall which seemed to have abated, I decided to tramp the sodden terrain of Morden Park.  I didn’t have much company and, as I had just washed my hair,  when the rain came down again, it didn’t much matter that it got wet.  Saturday’s Mud Island came to mind.  Flies were savouring the evidence that someone had recently been taken short.  I’m pretty sure it was human excreta because I don’t know any dogs who use toilet paper.  But then, it was yet another foul day.  Flashes of orange moving along the distant tree line were two postpersons cycling through to Hillcross Avenue from London Road.  A solitary jogger was taking advantage of recent mowing.

On my return, having parked by the side of the path from Links Avenue, a police dog handler was about to exercise his charge.  We spoke about flytipping (posted 2nd. July).

This evening we visited the Sree Krishna restaurant in Tooting with our old friend Sheila Knight (unrelated).  The Sree, at forty years old, claims to be the oldest South Indian restaurant in South London.  It is an excellent establishment which tonight gave the lie to my conviction that the quality of the poppadoms is a good indication of the standard of what is to follow.  Tonight’s poppadoms were a bit tired and I didn’t like the pickles.  The rest of the food was very good, although Sheila’s masala dosai couldn’t match those served at the Watch Me in Morden Road.  I patronised the Sree Krishna once or twice when living in Furzedown in the 1980s.  I remember that in those days a strong recommendation was that the Indian medics from nearby St. George’s Hospital frequented it.  There were none in evidence this evening, but then there were only about half a dozen other diners.  It was a Monday night.

Sheila and I had met on our Social Work training course in 1969.  It was she, as Mayor of Merton, who had presented Jackie with one of her certificates as the winner of Merton In Bloom competition for the best front garden of a certain size sometime in the 1990s.  Jackie won this title for the seven successive years she submitted the tiny plot attached to the house in Amity Grove that I had bought in 1968.  The header photograph was actually taken at The Firs yesterday, but reflects the planting experience Jackie had gained in packing her small London garden with such profusion.  She filled every inch of the ground, and then began hanging baskets from anything and everything that didn’t move.  An elaborate watering system extended from a tap outside the kitchen door, which not only irrigated the garden itself, but also drip-fed window boxes on the first floor.  Heath Robinson would have been proud of it.  When she arrived home from work today she brought masses more plants destined for Elizabeth’s ‘hot bed’.  This had involved a trip to the garden centre at Morden Hall Park.  Whilst there she had visited the National Trust shop where she noticed several copies of ‘The Magnificent Seven’, by John Turpin and Derrick Knight.  Published by Amberley Press, this is a book about London’s seven Victorian landscaped cemeteries, for which John wrote the text and I took most of the photographs.

On our return home we noted that The Raj (26th. June) was full.

5 responses to “Merton In Bloom”

  1. I am sure somewhere in your vast photographic archives Derrick, there must exist some shots of Jackie’s earlier garden. This gives me hope I may one day have the opportunity to renew my pot planting skills! 🙂

    • Unfortunately, Pauline, I never went there during those years. Jackie, herself, has some in her treasures somewhere. She will dig them out and I’ll scan them for you.

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