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Margaret Evison’s idyllic Dulwich garden opens to the public this August, in aid of her late son's charity, The Mark Evison Foundation Wo r d s A l e x a n d r a J o n e s P h o t o g r a p h y L e a n n e D i xo n


he weekend when we were told that Mark was on life support and that they were bringing him back from Afghanistan, I gardened all weekend...doing something physical seemed important. And I think when you’re gardening you are reminded that nature dominates our world, that it’ll go on and on and on, even when we’re not here. That’s how it should be.’ Margaret Evison and I are standing in her Dulwich garden on a truly perfect summer morning. ‘You’ve come at a good time,’ she smiles. It is hard to do justice in writing to Margaret’s garden, on this blustery June day, one of the first ‘good ones’ of the year, it is riotously, beautifully alive. It is a tapestry of colour and hue, every shade of green, every shape of leaf, a cacophony of nature. ‘Well, it has taken us 21 years to get to this point,’ she says modestly. A keen gardener, Margaret admits that this house appealed because of its abundance of outdoor space. ‘The garden is big enough to have a number of areas and each one has a different atmosphere. What I try to do is contrast the leaf shape and colour. In the front, particularly, every plant has been chosen because of its leaf rather than its flower. Classic gardeners say that leaves are what one should go by, not the flowers. The leaves are there all the time.’ It is easy to see how someone could draw comfort here. The ‘Mark’ we are talking about is Lieutenant Mark Evison, Margaret’s son, who in May 2009 was killed following wounds received in Afghanistan. ‘He was a very sweet guy, very energetic,


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