A Japanese/English autumn garden in Regent’s Park

Regent's ParkOne of the things I love about London’s parks is the way they change with the changing seasons. Yes, I know, all gardens do, but there are little nooks and crannies in the parks where I’m continually surprised by how different they can look as the year passes. One of my favourites is the Japanese garden in Regent’s Park. I went down to have a look at it this week and found it enchanting. Continue reading

The Battersea Park Peace Pagoda

Battersea Park Peace Pagoda This week I ventured south of the river (but only just) to visit the peace pagoda in Battersea Park. If you’re a local you’ve probably jogged past it many times as it’s on the bank of the River Thames, and you may even know its story, but if not, I imagine you’re now asking, what’s a peace pagoda, and why is there one in Battersea Park?  Continue reading

The Fukushima Garden two years on

Holland Park Fukushima Garden When I started this blog two years ago, the first actual event I wrote about was the opening of the Fukushima Garden in Holland Park on 24th July 2012. The garden was created as an expression of gratitude from Japan for the support British people had given following the tsunami in March 2011. It’s designed as a place for quiet contemplation, a peaceful contrast to the adjoining and better-known Kyoto Garden. The signboard on the entry gate has weathered now, but what else has changed? Continue reading

Shinjuku Gyoen Japanese Garden – peace in the heart of Tokyo

Shinjuku Gyoen Tokyo is not as well provided with green open spaces as London. There are a few parks in the centre, like Hibiya Park, but nothing like the great swathe of green that runs through the centre of London, from St James’s Park all the way to Kensington Gardens. But they do have one magical place; the National Garden in Shinjuku. I always visit Shinjuku Gyoen when I’m in Tokyo so of course I went there last week. It’s azalea season, one of the loveliest times in the park. Let me show you what I mean. Continue reading

The Japanese Garden in Regent’s Park

Japanese Garden in Regent's ParkI’ve travelled all over London to visit obscure Japanese gardens in out of the way places, but all the time I never realised there was one much closer to home – in Regent’s Park, no less. It’s part of Queen Mary’s Garden and it’s not just a garden, it’s a whole island. In case you’ve missed it too, let me take you on a short tour. Continue reading

Ikebana – the Japanese art of flower arranging

Ikebana Hilary Wain Sogetsu

I’ve been wanting to do a post about ikebana – the Japanese art of flower arranging – ever since I started this blog, but it’s not easy to find in London. But this week I struck lucky; an exhibition by members of the London chapter of Ikebana International titled The Delights of Spring at the Brompton Oratory Hall. It was only on for a few hours but I raced down there  – here’s what I found. Continue reading

Hammersmith Park Japanese Garden

Hammersmith Park Japanese Garden

There are two well-known Japanese Gardens in London – the Kyoto Garden in Holland Park and the Japanese Landscape, with the Chokushi-mon at its centre, in Kew Gardens. I’ve written about both of them before, but today I want to tell you about a third one that you’ve probably never heard of – the Hammersmith Park Japanese Garden, which has some unusual features. Continue reading

Open Garden Squares Weekend 8th-9th June

Zen Garden at SOASThis weekend is Open Garden Squares Weekend when you get a chance to visit over two hundred community gardens and private squares throughout London, some of which you can only get access to on this one weekend a year. There’ll be food and events and information wherever you go and maybe even some sunshine too. If you’ve got your plan for the day ready that’s fine, but if not, how about going to Bloomsbury, where there are thirteen gardens and garden squares taking part – including the Japanese Zen Garden at SOAS. Continue reading

Kyoto tranquility in Holland Park

Kyoto Garden at Holland ParkOn Saturday afternoon I joined a select group of people on Yannick Pucci’s guided tour of Holland Park. The last time I was there was on a roasting hot day in July when the Fukushima Garden was officially opened by the Japanese Ambassador (see my blog post) so I was interested to see how the new garden had settled in and also to learn more about the long-established Kyoto Garden. Continue reading

A Japanese autumn at Kew Gardens

Japanese stone lantern at KewKew Gardens! It’s been years since I last went there. In fact it’s so long ago it might even have been back in the days when you put a penny in the turnstile to get in, (on second thoughts, it wasn’t THAT long ago), days which are unfortunately a distant memory as nowadays Kew has to turn more than a penny to fund its work as an internationally recognised research and education institution with the worlds largest collection of living plants.

What drew me there? Well, once again it’s thanks to the Japan Society which arranged a brilliant tour of the herbarium which I’ll tell you about in my next post.

For the moment I’m going to focus on the Gardens themselves as autumn is a lovely time of year to visit; the trees with their red and gold leaves are picture-perfect – as you can see: Continue reading