Saturday, 22 September 2012

The Beale Arboretum

Beale Arboretum
The Beale Arboretum; looking towards West Lodge Park - 22 September 2012

The Beale Arboretum is, I reckon, just about still in London. It is located in the grounds of West Lodge Park Hotel in Cockfosters. The hotel has been run by the Beale family since the 1940s, and the Arboretum was founded by Edward Beale in 1963. Its 35 acres are home to over 800 species of trees.

Beale Arboretum

Beale Arboretum

Beale Arboretum


Note: I started writing this post in September 2012, before giving up my blog and not looking at it for almost 5 years. I found it saved as a draft and decided to publish it with its original date.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Things to do in London in Autumn 2012

Apples in Fenton House Garden, Hampstead
Apples in the Orchard at Fenton House, Hampstead

It's already September, and autumn is just around the corner - time to enjoy London outdoors before it gets cold and uncomfortable. Several London parks and gardens have special events lined up for our favourite "season of mists and mellow fruitfulness", including autumn walks and apple and pumpkin days.

Autumn Events

At the National Trust's Fenton House in Hampstead, the annual Apple Weekend will be held on 15 and 16 September, from 11:00 to 17:00 on both days. (Fenton House website)

Another National Trust property, Red House in Bexleyheath, will be holding its Apple Day on Sunday, 14 October, from 11:00 to 17:00. (Red House website)

Osterley Park in West London won't be celebrating apples, but pumpkins - Pumpkin Festival will be taking place on Sunday, 28 October, from 12:00 to 16:00. (Osterley Park website)

The Hampstead Heath Heritage Festival and Conquer Championship is a free event, which will take place on Sunday, 17 October, from 11:00 to 16:00, at Parliament Hill Bandstand.

Later in the year, Syon Park in Isleworth will open its gates in the evening for the Enchanted Woodland again - on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, from Friday 16 November to Sunday 02 December, from 17:00 to 21:00. (Syon Park website)

Walks and Tours

At Syon Park, there'll be an Autumn Tree Walk with the Head Gardener on Sunday, 14 October, with tours at 11:00 and 14:00. (Syon Park website)

Kew Gardens are also showcasing their trees' glorious autumn colours with a Tree Identification Tour every Wednesday and Saturday from 03 October to 31 October. (Kew Gardens website)

On Friday, 19 October, and Saturday, 27 October, there'll be two "Ramble in the Park" Autumn Walks in Hyde Park. (Royal Parks website, 19 October event and 27 October event)

Don't miss before they close for winter...

English Heritage's Eltham Palace and Gardens, glorious in autumn, will remain open during the winter, but on Sundays only; the last chance to visit on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays as well, will be 31 October. (Eltham Palace website)

Fenton House and Garden will stay open for longer than normally this year, before they close for winter - the last day to visit will be Sunday, 4 November.

The garden at Osterley Park will be open until 4 November, Wednesdays to Saturdays 11:00 to 17:00.

For an overview of these events, and more, also see my blog's calendar here.

Friday, 31 August 2012

Late Summer Colours at Golders Hill Park

Golders Hill Park
Golders Hill Park in the morning sun - 28 August 2012

While walking around Hampstead Heath this morning, I was thinking how autumnal it already felt, and that not so long ago I'd been thinking "finally, summer is here" on one of my Hampstead Heath walks, coming past the same place; and there haven't been enough of these walks in the last months.

I've been trying to better this, and earlier this week I visited Golders Hill Park before work. I thought then, too, that it's the end of summer already, looking at the hot "Indian Summer" colours of the plants currently flowering in the garden there.

Some of the beds in the flower garden at Golders Hill Park were replanted a while ago, and they're looking great now. Here's hoping for a long "end of summer" and that we'll get to enjoy these colours in the right weather!

Golders Hill Park
Flower bed with a showy hardy geranium

Golders Hill Park
Dahlia and sedum

Golders Hill Park
The colourful flower garden seen from the other side of the pond

I've written an introduction to Golders Hill Park here. There are many more photos of the park in my Flickr set.

Friday, 2 March 2012

More Than a Million Crocuses at Kew

The crocuses in Kew Gardens are currently at their best–both crocus vernus ('Jeanne d'Arc', 'Purpureus Grandiflorus' and 'Pickwick').near the Palm House and crocus tommasinianus 'Whitewell Purple' on the Princess Walk are in bloom, creating stunning carpets. There's another large patch of crocus tommasinianus near the Temperate House.

More crocuses and other early spring flowers are appearing elsewhere in the gardens, too. Keep an eye on Kew's Bulb Watch map so see what's in bloom when.

Crocus tommasinianus 'Whitewell Purple' - 1 March 2012

Part of the crocus carpet next to the Princess Walk - 1 March 2012

Dutch Crocuses
Dutch crocuses, with the Palm House in the background - 1 March 2012

Crocuses at the Temperate House
Crocus tommasinianus, near the Temperate House - 1 March 2012

Crocuses at the Temperate House
Crocuses and the Temperate House in the background - 1 March 2012

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Cannizaro Park Crocuses

..and so it's crocus time in Cannizaro Park again. Welcome back spring!

The Crocus Walk in Cannizaro Park
Crocuses in Cannizaro Park - 23 February 2012

Crocuses in Cannizaro Park
Crocus tommasianus - 23 February 2012

The Crocus Walk in Cannizaro Park
The Crocus Walk - 23 February 2012

Crocuses in Cannizaro Park
Crocuses - 23 February 2012

The Crocus Walk in Cannizaro Park
At the entrance to the Rose Garden - 23 February 2012

Chiswick House Camellia Festival 2012

A couple of days ago, I visited Chiswick House and Gardens to see the camellias in the conservatory there, which is now open for the second Camellia Festival. I went to the first Festival last year, and the camellias were showing more blossoms then. Probably the recent cold surprised them, too, and they just need a few more days to open their buds.
The Camellia Festival is running until 18 March, so there is still time to enjoy them in bloom. For more information, see the website of Chiswick House and Gardens Trust.

Camellia japonica 'Welbankiana'
Camellia japonica 'Welbankiana' - 21 February 2012

Camellia japonica 'Imbricata'
Camellia japonica 'Imbricata' - 21 February 2012

Friday, 10 February 2012

Snowdrop Days at Chelsea Physic Garden

Snowdrops at Chelsea Physic Garden
Snowdrops (galanthus plicatus) and primroses – 7 February 2012

Chelsea Physic Garden is closed during the winter months, but every year opens its doors to the public for its Snowdrop Days event in February. This year's Snowdrop Days are from 4 to 12 February–two more days to go!

I went there on Tuesday; this was my third visit, the first time that it was sunny and there was snow (I've only ever been to the Chelsea Physic Garden for the Snowdrop Days, although I do intend to visit in summer some time).
It was lovely. You wouldn't think at the moment that spring is around the corner, but here are heralds of spring, and there are many of them in the garden, on display in a plant theatre and growing in the flower beds. There is a snowdrop trail you can follow, and there are guided tours, too. For more information, see Chelsea Physic Garden's website.

Chelsea Physic Garden
Chelsea Physic Garden – 7 February 2012

Snowdrops at Chelsea Physic Garden
Galanthus 'S. Arnott' – 7 February 2012

Friday, 6 January 2012

Winter Blossoms at Kew Gardens

It feels a bit as if spring is just around the corner. It's not been really cold, and now I'm already on the lookout for the first spring flowers–I saw the first snowdrops yesterday, crocuses today, and many other spring bulbs have been sending out shoots. (I actually spotted the first bluebell shoots in our garden in mid-October...)

Before spring arrives–or a blizzard–it's now time to appreciate the lovely blossoms of the shrubs and trees that flower in winter, many of which are so beautifully scented. They can be found in Kew Gardens, where there's something to see at any time of the year.

There are many winter-flowering shrubs in the Winter Garden near the Ice House and Princess of Wales Conservatory (this is where I took the pictures shown below), and more can be found between The Pond and the Victoria Gate. Near King William's Temple, there's a collection of hybrid witch hazels which have also started coming into bloom. More winter bloomers dotted around the gardens (a winter honeysuckle in the Duke's Garden could not be missed because of its scent).

Wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox) - 6 January 2012

Viburnum (Viburnum × bodnantense 'Dawn') - 6 January 2012

Witch Hazel
Witch hazel (Hamamelis × intermedia 'Pallida') - 6 January 2012

Winter Honeysuckle
Winter honeysuckle (Lonifera x purpusii 'Winter Beauty') - 6 January 2012

...And while Kew's spring bulbs are getting ready for their big show, this little carpet of cyclamen coum is a pretty surprise. It's underneath a tree next to the Cafe at the Victoria Gate.

Cyclamen Coum
Cyclamen coum - 6 January 2012

See you in spring!