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

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

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

Rhododendrons and Azaleas at Kenwood House

Kenwood House rhododendron I’d like to pretend that I made a special trip to Kenwood House on Hampstead Heath just to see the rhododendrons and azaleas in full flower, with the visit carefully timed to catch them at their peak. But I’m afraid it didn’t happen like that. I actually went with a group of Twitter friends to see the house, which has been closed for refurbishment for years but has finally reopened, forgetting all about the famous rhododendron garden until we rounded a corner of the house and saw it in all its glory. Continue reading