London’s secret gardens
This annual event in early June has been running for fifteen years and goes from strength to strength. This year, 200 gardens were open (hint, you won’t get round them all in a weekend, although a single twelve pound ticket would access them all). The event is superbly organised with brochures, maps and updated internet information. The well designed maps make it deceptively easy to navigate round. You are greeted at each garden by enthusiastic and knowledgable volunteers.
There are all manner of gardens of every quality and style. They are normally not open to the general public or have restricted access. You see parts of London you would never see. We were particularly thrilled at the hidden gardens and cloisters only a stones’s throw from Westminster Abbey and The Houses of Parliament!
O.A.P’s riotous weekend
We have done Amsterdam’s wonderful Open Gardens Weekend three times and thought we would give London a try. We teamed up with Harry and Rowena from Preston - you might remember Harry’s recent pictures of worms on my blog. As I write I eagerly await his photos to make a decent post!
|Brenda and Roger|
With our seniors rail-card we booked cheap train tickets three months in advance. None refundable advance booking at the Travel Lodge, Waterloo - suitably central - was £115 for three nights for each couple. It was going to be a cheap weekend! One of the best way to navigate the gardens is to use London buses - we never used the tube. What did Gordon Brown ever do for us? He gave us our free bus passes! London buses are now so very good.
The K+K George Hotel, Templeton Place is a very fine hotel well above our pay grade. It has a very fine garden, perhaps the best we saw, It is a rare combination of superb design, fascinating garden architecture and unusual healthy plants.
I have to report we geriatric hooligans rather blotted our copybook! We inadvertently turned up in the morning when it opened at two. We brazenly entered the foyer and walked through to the garden. It was wonderful and we felt very grand. On returning through the hotel this delinquent senior in a fit of chiIdish enthusiasm could not resist plastering his latest blog on a complimentary computer (the no dig gardener was here!).
In all we managed 18 gardens over the two days. Each evening we assembled in our room for a bottle of red before going out to dinner. Nandos was best, but on Saturday night we had a special treat, a wonderful traditional London fish and chip supper! By 10pm each night we were back to our hotel and tucked up in bed!
|Rockin sixties in the park. Long tall Sally…..|
|Would Brenda let me take her home?|
Mr Kennedy’s pictures
|A fine Viburnum plicatum in Belgrave Square|
|This tree looks very stable in Ecclestone Square|
|A camelia in Ecclestone Square|
|A very fine ceanothus in Ecclestone Square|
|Lambeth Palace garden museum|
|Lambeth Palace garden museum|
|London is alive with native animal life|
|A small private garden at the back of Maro-Coco chocolate|
|Medicinal Garden at the Royal College of Physicians|
|Union jack opposite Lambeth palace|
|Westminster Abbey gardens|
You can see the rest of Harry’s pictures here