2017 cherry blossom – last chance!

Spring has been so early this year that, even though we’re hardly past the middle of April, the cherry blossom season is almost over. So what are your chances of catching the last of the blossom before it all vanishes? Good, if you act quickly and know where to go – which I’m about to tell you. Continue reading

Kew Gardens 2017 – cherry blossom in abundance!

It’s still only the end of March, yet spring has come so early the cherry blossom is already in flower. I’ve been down to Kew Gardens to check it out and it’s good news all round – plenty of trees in full flower and plenty still in bud with blossom still to come. It’s turning into a vintage year! Continue reading

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

Commune with the bees in the Hive in Kew Gardens

The Hive at Kew

So what exactly is the hive? Well, it’s a new attraction at Kew that hopefully will help visitors understand the life of the bee. It’s a gleaming seventeen-metre-high aluminium structure that’s like a beehive you can walk into. Plus it’s an immersive, multi-sensory experience which is driven by activity in a real beehive in the gardens that activates lights and music. With me so far?  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

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

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

The Art of Trees: Masumi Yamanaka at Kew

Black Locust Flower, Leaf and Fruit by Masumi Yamanaka © Kew Gardens

Black Locust Flower, Leaf and Fruit by Masumi Yamanaka © Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens is a wonderful place to visit to see plants and flowers in bloom, but you may not realise it also has two art galleries. One of them, the Marianne North gallery, has a permanent display of pictures by the great Victorian explorer, but the other, the Shirley Sherwood gallery, has changing exhibitions of botanical art. Currently on show are a series of new paintings by Kew artist Masumi Yamanaka of some of the rare and spectacular heritage trees in the gardens. Continue reading