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

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

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 its height right now. So let’s make a start. 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

Roses, bees and tranquility in the heart of London: Lambeth Palace Garden

Lambeth Palace gardenIn the past it hasn’t been easy to visit the garden of Lambeth Palace, the oldest continuously cultivated garden in London (it’s been there for eight hundred years).  The only way was by booking one of the none-too-frequent guided tours. But from March this year things have changed. Now you can wander around at your leisure, as Yannick and I did last week. Continue reading

Roses in Queen Mary’s Garden

Queen Mary's GardenQueen Mary’s Garden in Regent’s Park is famous for its roses. I went there last week with a Japanese friend, who wanted to see real English roses on her visit to the UK, just as we want to see cherry blossom in Japan. The roses were so lovely I decided to post some pictures here for you to enjoy too. And I’ve also added a post on the top five rose gardens in London in case you want to find some more roses. Continue reading