Communal gardens a 'touch of genius'

Local tree expert Thomas Pakenham says Notting Hill’s 15 communal gardens, which he refers to as ‘reverse gardens’, should be famous everywhere for their brilliance and he doesn’t understand why they don’t receive more accolades. “It was an extraordinary idea of Thomas Allanson, who was a contemporary of Nash. There was  touch of genius about him,” says Pakenham. Speaking at the Ladbroke Association annual lecture he added that putting gardens behind the  terraces of houses instead of in front works even better now with the rise in the amount of traffic. Pakenham gave a list of his star trees, among them cherries, which flourish in our sub tropical microclimate, which he says is on a par with west Cornwall and the Isle of Wight  in terms of tree growing conditions, and other stars include Notting Hill’s 10 types of magnolias and the variety of maples. During the talk he questioned the planting of broad-spreading evergreen magnolia’s in Ladbroke Road and called on the council to try out ginkos, which pre-date dinosaurs, and liquid ambers as street trees. www.ladbrokeassociation.org.uk Mary-Lu

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