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>Laundry Garden

April 13, 2011

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A few years ago I read a fascinating interview with Elaine Doherty the founder of the London shop Egg. She vividly recalled finding a laundry garden attached to a convent in the South of France and she longed to recreate one for herself. I made some enquiries with The Museum of Garden History in London but they had no record of such a tradition. Most probably it was a practical solution devised by the Mother Superior to cope with laundry in the heat of summer. The linen was simply draped over low growing Mediterranean plants to dry in the sun. This family of plants are amongst my favourites not least because of their scented leaves and flowers. Since I adore drying washing in the fresh air I have decided to make my own laundry garden here.
It will be a modest affair since the sunniest bed measures 2 x 3 metres and is surrounded by a low growing box hedge. This, plus two box balls in the middle, absorbs quite a lot of planting space. A very pretty half standard holly sits in the centre and the rest of the bed is currently full of sub-shrubs and perennials with many having grown tall and leggy. So I plan to edit out the over- grown plants and in-fill with a mixture of dwarf lavenders, culinary sage, santolina, curry plant, marjoram and eau de cologne mint. All are scented and most will be sturdy enough to support some lightweight laundry. I’ll photograph it in mid-summer and if the botanical names would help just let me know.
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