Mona Abboud's North London garden is an unassuming garden paradise, home to the Corokia National Collection. During the lockdowns, she's been trying out some sustainable garden projects ideas, which she has shared with Candide!
You can find out Mona about her and her garden on her website.
As the proud National Collection Holder of Corokia, in 2015, I wanted to showcase some of these potted shrubs theatrically by giving them the stage they deserve. To create this, I used the doors of an old shed I had demolished, and hardwood window frames that were left over from my conservatory's construction. The whole wooden structure was then painted in my favourite blue-grey colour - ‘Cuprinol Wild Thyme’. Behind this stage, I then installed a tall and narrow cold frame.
My Corokia treading the boards
Fast forward to October 2020. Having been confined to their pots for five years - very much as we have for most of this year - the Corokia were desperate to stretch their roots into the soil. So, I decided to tear down the stage and build some terracing to allow them to do just that. I started by dismantling the structure, lifting the paving slabs on which it was resting and adding homemade compost to uncovered soil.
But then came the big challenge - I wanted the new project to be 100% sustainable by reusing all the available materials to avoid waste and not buy any new materials.
First, I stacked the two window frames on top of the other and turned them into an open-ended wood planter, by fixing some root barrier plastic- which I had by me- to the inner sides. The large Corokia macrocarpa- could then be extricated from its pot and planted in this newly devised container.
The new container, made out of window frames.
The actual terraces emerged by using the paving slabs vertically and fixing an existing wooden plank to the front. The whole structure supported by steel rods that were left over from a previous job.
The last thing left to do was to liberate the remaining Corokia from their pots and plant them in their new home, adding some extra soil where necessary. The slabs were painted a vibrant terracotta colour to contrast with the wooden materials' cool blue-grey, including the cold frame at the back.
As a final flourish, I dressed the soil with Coir and red granite chippings, to give the whole picture a red earth Mediterranean look. This dual colour palette, purple, bronze, terra cotta on the one hand and blue-grey on the other, is a theme that runs throughout my garden.
I am quite proud of the result and only needed to buy one sack of topsoil and one sack of the red granite chippings to complete this totally sustainable project. Hopefully, this will give the Corokia a new lease of life within their newfound home.