Kew Gardens Orchids 2017

Kew Gardens orchidsEvery year Kew Gardens cheers up the cold February days with a sumptuous display of orchids in the Princess of Wales Conservatory. I never miss it – it’s such a great contrast to the grey days at the fag end of winter, as the steamy warmth surrounds you and the riot of colour awakens your senses ready for another year. Continue reading

Temple Gardens – Hidden Shade in the Heart of London

Middle Temple GardensAt last summer has arrived, and, like the ungrateful folk we are, we’ve started sighing for respite from the sun beating down on hot city pavements. But where can you find a cool garden when you want one when you’re in the middle of London? Come with me to a hidden enclave a few minutes walk from the Strand and I’ll show you. Continue reading

Five fabulous London gardens to visit this Spring

Isabella PlantationThe weather (today at least) is sunny, and it’s not too far-fetched to suggest that spring has sprung. Cherry blossom season is over, so naturally you want to know what follows. The answer is bluebells and wisteria and rhododendrons and azalea, among others. Where are you going to see them? Just read on. Continue reading

Two hundred years of Camellias at Chiswick House

Chiswick House CamelliaLast summer, Yannick and I visited Chiswick House, a neo-Palladian villa built by the third Earl of Burlington in 1729. The gardens, restored in a two year, twelve million pound project and reopened in 2010, were glorious, but there was one thing we missed seeing – the camellias, which bloom in February/March. I vowed then to come back for the annual camellia festival in the amazing two hundred year old conservatory, so last week saw us on the train to Chiswick once again. Continue reading

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

Plum Blossom or Cherry Blossom – which is it?

Plum BlossomOkay, I plead guilty to this one. Sometimes, especially at this time of year when I’m waiting for the first cherry blossom to bloom, I might have got my plum blossom and my cherry blossom mixed up. But it’s not going to happen any more, no sirree. I’ve done my research and now I know how to spot the difference. I bet you want to know too, so I’m going to share with you my handy three point guide to telling them apart. Continue reading

White Magic – Snowdrop Days at the Chelsea Physic Garden

Snowdrop DaysThe snowdrops are early this year. So early that the Chelsea Physic Garden had to rearrange its snowdrop days to take place sooner than usual, which explains why Yannick and I found ourself venturing out in the middle of last week’s cold snap to see them. And nearly freezing our fingers off taking photos for you. You’re welcome. Continue reading

Winter in the Sky Garden

Sky GardenI was a bit dubious when Yannick suggested going to see the Sky Garden at the top of the Walkie Talkie building on a rather grey December day. I’d seen all those lovely sunny photos people had taken back in the summer and I couldn’t help feeling we just weren’t going to get the right light. But you know what? We got something just as interesting – an atmospheric smoky glow with a charm all its own. Plus a bonus as the early sunset showed us the garden after dark as well. 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

Famous for flamingoes – Kensington Roof Gardens

Kensington Roof GardensEver since they were first opened in 1938 the Kensington Roof Gardens, on the roof of what used to be Derry and Toms, has been a haven of calm above busy Kensington High St. Built at a cost of £25,000 and boasting more than five hundred species of plants and shrubs, they’re now Grade II listed as a place of specific historical interest by English Heritage. Continue reading