The garden's centrepiece is a series of arches which were planted last year to create a blowsy, flowing feel, with the plants and grasses spilling over the central path, brushing by visitors as they pass. Lilies, fuchsia, gauras, a variety of grasses including Stipa gigantea and alstroemerias combined well to create this effect, with the Judas tree in the background.
Planting up the many pots is undertaken together by residents, who take a very active part in preparing the garden for its annual opening during Open Garden Squares Weekend. It has become a local tradition to gather together in May around a long table to pot up the hanging baskets and enjoy a spot of lunch. They also organise everything that needs to be done for the big day, from selling tickets and plants to brewing tea and baking cakes. Even residents like Rose in her nineties love to play their part.
John Betts residents, their love of their garden and the way they work together so impressed students who came to visit them, that one, Juliana Amaa, wrote a poem about what she saw at John Betts when the garden opened for Open Garden Squares Weekend. It's appropriately entitled 'Open Glory'.
June delivers warmth and sunshine
Strawberries, ripe and plump
Need only a handful. Red blotches
Cover my hands
The Damsons, the oranges, reds-mixing
After eating the first one, I want more
Like Summer's cinnamon. The fruits
Tingle in my mouth.
Licking my hands. Scarlet slurps soak up my hunger
Gorging on jam sandwiches and honeysuckle buns
Admiring the flowers
Chatting, picking and eating
Juice drenches my fingertips
Gorging on strawberries and much more
Savouring the essence of the day
What I live for
Further information on visiting John Betts House on Open Garden Squares Weekend »