Spitalfields balcony

Red geraniums and rosemary on a balcony in Spitalfields
Spitalfields, London

I’ve always found it amazing how, in London, you can find yourself in a sea of people on a busy thoroughfare like Oxford Street, then turn down a side street and find yourself alone, in almost spooky silence.

That’s what happened last week, when we went to a birthday party in Spitalfields on a Sunday afternoon. The house was just off Brick Lane, which was heaving with tourists. It reminded me that milling with crowds of people at markets was was never my idea of a good Sunday when I lived in London (my idea of a good Sunday back then was getting out of London altogether) and it looked even less appealing to my out-of-towner’s eyes.

Once we turned the corner, though, it was a completely different story. It was deathly quiet. And so it was, too, from the terrace and balcony at the top of the house, even though we could almost reach out and touch the nearby City skyline. I didn’t manage to get any good pictures because of the number of people, but both spaces were cleverly planted, with lots of herbs, tender plants that you can only get away with in London’s microclimate, and red geraniums mixed with rosemary in apple boxes. The balcony and terrace were also rigged up with thin copper pipes, which gave a pergola effect (see my previous post), something for climbers to trail along, and an added sense of safety (the balconies were only waist height, and a tad disconcerting for anyone who, like me, suffers from vertigo).

You can’t go wrong with red geraniums, can you? Especially on a balcony where they give impact from afar. It made me feel a little nostalgic for my old balcony, but not for the continuous feeling I had when I was living there that I’d rather be living somewhere else.


6 thoughts on “Spitalfields balcony”

  1. Where do people find things like these apple boxes? They look amazing, I think they would look great on a patio and make an interesting change to the usual pots.

  2. I adore red geraniums but they have to be in the right place and with the softness of the rosemary (and the scent from both) these look wonderful.
    In our garden red flowers look dreadful, so we keep to pale pinks right through to deep purple, and anything red or orange looks wrong … well, to me. And yet a friend with a beautiful stone-built low-slung cottage … well, they always have pots of scarlet geraniums outside and they look simply stunning, with the grey stone one side and a lovely green lawn at the other.
    No, I suspect the apple boxes are as expensive as ‘real’ furniture!
    We have just painted our old garden bench – which had seen better days – with F&B’s eggshell paint in Chappell Green and it now looks great against the pale cream walls of our garden. Am buying hostas and putting them in black pots to sit them close by. No other plants would survive (apart from ferns which I’m also buying) in such a shaded spot, under our walnut tree.


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