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

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

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

Greenwich Park Cherry Blossom Avenue

Greenwich Park cherry blossom avenueWe’re a week into May and you might have thought the cherry blossom season, which normally peaks in mid to late April, would be over by now. But you’d be wrong, because the cherry blossom avenue in Greenwich Park turned out to be in full glorious flower when I went along to take a look a few days ago – and I’ve got the pictures to prove it. Continue reading

The Regent’s Park cherry blossom avenue is back!

Regent's Park cherry blossomLast year there was no cherry blossom on the famous cherry blossom avenue in Regent’s Park. The trees had been cut down before they had a chance to bloom, and Chester Avenue was a sad sight that spring. But the old trees have given way to new ones which are now flowering for the first time. Of course I’ve been to take a look. Continue reading

St James’s Park Cherry Blossom Virtual Tour

St James's Park cherry blossomSt James’s Park is ranked at number four in my London Parks Cherry Blossom Top Five Guide. It’s right in the centre of London and has a beautiful lake so it was bound to make the cut, but it doesn’t have great swathes of cherry trees. It’s quality not quantity that gives it its place. Take a walk around my virtual tour to see why. Continue reading

April 2016 Cherry Blossom update

Alexandra Palace cherry blossomHere we are, nearly half way through April, the weather’s getting better and the cherry trees are coming into bloom, so it’s time for an update on the current state of the blossom. This update focuses on two of the top five places in my guide to the best cherry blossom viewing spots in LondonContinue 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