Forest Gate is full of little gardening gems and this house was one of them. It was perhaps the neatest garden I've ever seen and I was quite surprised that the owner needed help as everything seemed to be under control. However, Ms Pitstop was frustrated that most of the plants she'd put in seemed to struggle or die-off altogether and has resorted to bedding plants in place of the perennials she'd prefer. The garden is south-west facing so gets plenty of light and the foxes, slugs and snails are succesfully being kept at bay, so lack of light and pests are off the list of culprits. I did a soil test and found out the soil is
alkaline with a PH of 7.5 - 8, which explains why the azalea was reduced to withered brown twigs at the back of the flower bed. We also put names to some of the plants that were in-situ before Ms Pitstop bought the house, but the attached (of which there are 2) was a mystery. On further investigation I think they're Cordyline Australis (or big yuccery type things), although there are a bewildering number of palms and lillies that all have this general appearance, but this one had a fairly smooth trunk so narrowed it down a bit.
Ms Pitstop now has a list of perennials that can deal with alkaline soil and will be mulching over the winter to make sure the soil is full of lovely nutrients come spring. I'll be going back around March/April time
to prune and discuss planting and hopefully to pop in some plants that are going to thrive. Fingers crossed!