Finding the hidden hydrangeas at Kew

hydrangea

It’s hydrangea season, and practically every suburban garden worth its name has a bush covered in big pink pompoms. Along with roses, it’s the flower of the English summer. Down at Kew Gardens they have a different approach. Their hydrangeas grow in secret, tucked away beneath the trees in the woodland glade. You have to seek them out, but at this time of year it’s worth the effort. 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

Ranger’s House Rose Garden – in the part of Greenwich Park tourists don’t visit

Ranger's House Rose GardenGreenwich is a park of two halves. There’s the bit down the bottom, near the Cutty Sark with the National Maritime Museum and Queen’s House pulling in boatloads of tourists every day. Some of them walk up the steep hill to visit the Royal Observatory and take a photo of the amazing view from the top. But that’s generally as far as they get. The other Greenwich Park is beyond that – a park where locals go, full of hidden treasures. Continue reading

Hyde Park Rose Garden – surprisingly romantic

Hyde Park Rose GardenThis week is rose week on the blog, so following on from my rose garden top five post I’m sharing a few more pictures of my favourite rose gardens, starting with the one in Hyde Park. I always think of Hyde Park as quite formal, so I was surprised to find how soft and romantic the layout of this garden is. Continue reading

London Rose Gardens – Top Five Guide

RosesWelcome to my guide to where to see the best roses in bloom in London! After all, today’s the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, when the earth is at its maximum tilt towards the sun. What better way to spend it than looking at roses? Luckily the rose season is at it’s height right now. So let’s make a start. Continue reading

A tour of Kew Gardens’ secret places

Kew Gardens rose pergolaI went down to Kew Gardens last week. Yes, again. When the sun shines I can’t think of a better place to be.  For once I didn’t head straight for the Japanese Landscape. I had other fish (or flowers) to fry – bits of the garden that don’t get visited so much, some of the odd places round the edges that get overlooked because the rest of the garden is so stunning.  Continue reading

Two for the price of one – Roses and Rhododendron at Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens rosesThe beginning of June is when the roses start to come into bloom and the last of the spring flowers come to an end. But I was lucky enough to straddle the seasons at Kew Gardens last week, as the rose garden behind the Palm House came into bloom while the rhododendron dell was still full of flowers. Bit of a win-win. 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

Yellow water iris – East and West London battle it out

Yellow water iris
The yellow water iris (Iris pseudacorus) is in flower at the moment. I’ve come across it in two very different places in the past week – the Barbican Centre in the east of London and the Italian Gardens in Kensington Gardens in the west. The two locations offer an interesting contrast in style – formal versus lush, modern versus traditional, concrete versus greenery. Which would you go for? Continue reading