Rosmead Garden is one of the most beautiful of the garden squares in Notting Hill, part of the Ladbroke Estate which also includes Arundel Gardens, St John’s Gardens and the largest – Ladbroke Square.
Originally the 140 acres which make up ‘The Hill’ was the site of the notorious Hippodrome Racecourse and when it closed in 1842, Thomas Allom’s master plan included generous communal gardens laid out inside concentric crescents on the site. The outer mansion crescents were finished in the 1860’s, these days the gardens and the surrounding mansions are some of the most sought after properties in London.
It’s not hard to see why – these pastel coloured mansions are now mainly brought back to single house status with their own private gardens opening directly onto some of the largest and most beautiful private gardens in the capital.
These gardens are a sanctuary for wildlife, entirely enclosed by the surrounding residences they have a wealth of exciting trees and shrubs laid out as a ‘natural landscape’.
Maintained by residents’ garden committees, the gardens are cleverly planted and maintained to provide year round interest. Ancient, indigenous trees have clematis and jasmine trailing through their branches and are under planted with hortensia, tree ferns, Japanese Acers, evergreen camellias and flowering magnolias, there are wild hidden corners and more formal areas and the pathways lead you through secret enclosed arbours of rambling roses, passing wisteria clad walls and clipped yew hedges. This is a romantic garden and it’s not surprising that this location was chosen for shooting the 1990’s romantic comedy ‘Notting Hill’.
The private gardens are open to the public every year as part of the National Gardens Scheme . Each individual private garden opening out to the communal garden are highly individual in design – the microclimate here enables tropical planting to thrive, designs include Japanese style planting using Acers and Japanese cloud trees to great effect, understated Mediterranean planting using ancient olive trees, fig trees and pencil cypress or very formal gardens with topiary and clipped box hedges, using pleached trees for screening.
One thing they all have in common is a place to sit, to eat al fresco and enjoy the peace and the abundant wildlife. Hard to believe you’re in the centre of London!
These vast open spaces are mainly hidden from view and really are a secret haven – they are, however, open to the public for just one day each summer as part of the Open Squares Weekend initiative, where residents man the lemonade stalls and visitors are allowed in to view the stunning planting and to chat to the people who actually garden here.
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