The glory of this small space is a vast climbing rose - Souvenir de Madamoiselle Leonie de Viennoit, whose blousy pink and cream roses scramble up its creamy white walls. The box like space traps the scent, heavy, old fashioned and copious, of this much loved climber. Long used as somewhere to store resting and recovered potted plants, it has an air of romantic neglect about it and is currently used by the builders as a space to store to their lime plaster, wheelbarrows and tools.
When I moved in, the yard had a concrete floor pierced with spikes of inappropriate bamboo. If ever there was a plant in the wrong place this was it. Their roots took forever to dig out. Herbs and quite tender plants have thrived there partly because it is contains the outlet flue of the Aga, and therefore is warm and protected. The only plant life there now are a couple of self-seeded shuttlecock ferns in the walls. Rather beautiful as it happens, I intend to keep them.
These next few months will see this space coming back to life. Cement, timber and spades removed, it will go from storage basement to sheltered courtyard. There may be a table and chairs, or, access permitting, a lead planter. The high walls beg for to a climber to join the rampant Mmme. De Viennot and the floor, an undulating surface covered with tiny, wire cut French bricks apparently salvaged from the arches at a London railway station, is just the place for some pots, a secret garden of sorts.