White Magic – Snowdrop Days at the Chelsea Physic Garden

Snowdrop DaysThe snowdrops are early this year. So early that the Chelsea Physic Garden had to rearrange its snowdrop days to take place sooner than usual, which explains why Yannick and I found ourself venturing out in the middle of last week’s cold snap to see them. And nearly freezing our fingers off taking photos for you. You’re welcome. Continue reading

Winter in the Sky Garden

Sky GardenI was a bit dubious when Yannick suggested going to see the Sky Garden at the top of the Walkie Talkie building on a rather grey December day. I’d seen all those lovely sunny photos people had taken back in the summer and I couldn’t help feeling we just weren’t going to get the right light. But you know what? We got something just as interesting – an atmospheric smoky glow with a charm all its own. Plus a bonus as the early sunset showed us the garden after dark as well. Continue reading

It’s New Year’s Eve so here’s my review of 2015

Isabella PlantationHow was 2015 for you? I had a busy year which makes it hard to choose my favourite posts. But there’ve been two high points for me. One is the huge growth in interest in my regular spring posts about cherry blossom. The other is that I’ve repositioned the blog this year. It’s always been a London blog, but now it has less of a focus on Japanese stuff, enabling me to post about a much wider range of places and events than I could before. (including the Isabella Plantation in the photo above). Continue reading

Keep warm in the Barbican’s secret conservatory

Bird of Paradise Flower, Barbican ConservatoryThe weather has finally turned against us with temperatures in single figures. Suddenly staying in begins to seem like a good idea. But not staying home – what you need is somewhere in central London that’s warm where you can wander round looking at the flowers just as though it was still summer. You need the Barbican conservatory. Continue reading

Famous for flamingoes – Kensington Roof Gardens

Kensington Roof GardensEver since they were first opened in 1938 the Kensington Roof Gardens, on the roof of what used to be Derry and Toms, has been a haven of calm above busy Kensington High St. Built at a cost of £25,000 and boasting more than five hundred species of plants and shrubs, they’re now Grade II listed as a place of specific historical interest by English Heritage. 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

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