Amazing Orchids at Kew

IMG_2284Every year, in February, Kew Gardens puts on its famous orchids display in the Princess of Wales Conservatory. It’s wonderful to visit and spend some time in the damp warmth of a tropical rain forest while outside the glass it’s bone-freezingly cold, and let the vivid colours and fantastic shapes of the orchids take you to a different world. Continue reading

Keep warm in the Barbican’s secret conservatory

Bird of Paradise Flower, Barbican ConservatoryThe weather has finally turned against us with temperatures in single figures. Suddenly staying in begins to seem like a good idea. But not staying home – what you need is somewhere in central London that’s warm where you can wander round looking at the flowers just as though it was still summer. You need the Barbican conservatory. Continue reading

Hatfield House – gardens fit for a Queen

Hatfield House garden

The tube strike and a sunny day sent me off to Hatfield House Gardens last week. The entrance to the house and grounds is right opposite Hatfield rail station, so it’s perfect for people like me who don’t travel by car. The House is well worth a visit too, but I was there to see the beauties of the formal gardens. Continue reading

A visit to the stunning Hampton Court Palace Gardens

Hampton Court Palace GardenWhen I’ve been to Hampton Court before I’ve spent my whole time looking at the palace, with just a perfunctory glance at the gardens. I’ve always known I was missing out, so I was determined to go on a visit just to the gardens, to give myself time to see them all (and there are plenty to see) and really appreciate them. I was very glad I did, as they are quite stunning. Continue reading

Roses, bees and tranquility in the heart of London: Lambeth Palace Garden

Lambeth Palace gardenIn the past it hasn’t been easy to visit the garden of Lambeth Palace, the oldest continuously cultivated garden in London (it’s been there for eight hundred years).  The only way was by booking one of the none-too-frequent guided tours. But from March this year things have changed. Now you can wander around at your leisure, as Yannick and I did last week. Continue reading

Iris and wisteria at Fulham Palace

Fulham PalaceI’d never really thought about going to Fulham Palace before, even though when I went to the Isabella Plantation last week I went via Putney Bridge and could easily have made a detour as it’s just a few minutes walk away. But then I mentioned to some friends that I was on the lookout for wisteria and Sue of It’s your London told me about the gardens there.  Continue reading

Azaleas in the Isabella Plantation

Isabella PlantationYesterday Yannick, Travelling Dave and I set off on an expedition to the Isabella Plantation in Richmond Park. If you’re a west Londoner you’ll be wondering why I describe it as an expedition when you go there all the time, but for a north Londoner like me it’s a trek into unknown country. What attracted us was the reputation of the azaleas in the Isabella Plantation and we weren’t disappointed. Continue reading

Bluebells and Wisteria at Osterley Park

Osterley Park wisteriaI’ve been through Osterley on the tube dozens of times on my way to Heathrow and I always think to myself that one day I’ll get off and visit Osterley Park. The years have rolled by and the trips to Heathrow gone on, but the visit to Osterley Park has eluded me – until now.  What a lot I’ve been missing. Continue reading

2015 Cherry Blossom April Update – Alexandra Palace

Alexandra Palace cherry blossomGosh, I owe Alexandra Palace an apology. I posted my London Cherry Blossom Guide two years ago and I’ve been updating it regularly since then, but not once have I mentioned Alexandra Palace, even though I live nearby. It just never occurred to me it was a top cherry blossom viewing spot, and somehow I never went there in cherry blossom season. Until now, that is. And now I know better. Continue reading

They’re taking the axe to the cherry trees in Regent’s Park

Chester GateIt feels like the end of an era – and it is in a way. The avenue of cherries trees along Chester Road leading to Chester Gate, the glory of the cherry blossom season in Regent’s Park, is going. They’ve cut down half of them, and the rest will go on Monday. Not even the stumps are left – just bare earth. Continue reading