Sunday, 8 June 2008

A Nice Green Leaf: 10 Absolutely Essential Items for the Summer Garden, part 2

Following on from yesterday's post, here is the second installment in my run down of the essential items for the summer garden...

6. Croquet Set
Look, I didn't spend hours mowing that lawn so we could just sit around enjoying the peace and quiet. I want outdoor competition, picky arguments and mysteriously "sprained" fingers that require time-consuming visits to A&E.

The very best croquet sets can set you back up to £4,000. But then I have to get some sort of weekend hobby to get out all that aggression I'll be building up during the week on the trading floor.

7: Nerium oleander

It's gorgeous, it's blowsy, it has fantastic foliage and shape. It comes in a range of colours from acidic yellow through deep red to pure white. The flowers are often deeply fragrant; and since it stopped being properly cold in Britain, plants survive through the winter happily in well-drained soil.

No one plant will do so much to bring a holiday air to your garden - and if you can't offer the right growing conditions, they also do brilliantly in pots.

One word of warning: oleander is very, very poisonous. This doesn't seem to stop all of Mediterranean Europe planting it by their pools, though. Perhaps, like a swimming pool, it just requires careful supervision to enjoy it.

8. Nature

I'm not selfish. I don't mind sharing my garden with wildlife. As long as the birds look sharp and take up residence in something that matches my general vibe. I'm suggesting they consider these, from Modern Birdhouses.

9. Head-to-toe Helly Hansen

Come on guys, let's be realistic. As it is going to rain, when the deluge comes let's at least be properly prepared.

10. Pool
Yeah, but not just any pool. I'd quite like the pool out of The Philadelphia Story, please. Or one by Richard Neutra - this image is from a slide-show provided by the estate agent - the auction house Christies.

Christies sold the Neutra-designed Kaufman House last month for a cool $16.8m,including a totally delicious pool.

Finally, three not to get:

2. White plastic chairs
3. Hedgehog boot scraper

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