This grand garden is a surprising piece of the countryside in Greater London

Gardener: Penny Gluckstein
Garden: Highwood Ash, Highwood Hill, Mill Hill, London NW7 4EX
Been in the garden: 56 years
Size: 3 acres
Soil: thick clay
Open: 15 May 2016

Words: Melissa Mabbitt
Photos: Neil Hepworth

Penny Glukstein’s garden is a glimpse of the countryside in Greater London. Surrounding a 500-year-old house, the city has grown up next to the garden. Now it remains an oasis of green between busy roads, at the point where city meets country.

Penny says: “It’s quite extraordinary. When you come up the hill, one side of the road is greenbelt, while the other is every house that can be crammed in!”
This grand garden rolls down a hill towards the city, filled with mature blossoming trees and shrubs that perform at their best in springtime.

A huge collection of rhododendrons and azaleas fill the garden with colour in April and early May.
Right now the garden is a hive of activity as the large lawns (and weeds) spring back into life and propagation gets into full swing. Although Penny has a gardener to help with the major jobs, she does all the propagation for the garden herself.
“I do everything in the greenhouse – collecting seed from the garden and sowing it again, plus all the cuttings. It’s always useful to have back-ups, especially of tender plants such as salvias and pelargoniums,” she says.

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