Sunday, September 6, 2015 6 comments

London Calling. (London gardens , that is.)

We're heading for Jolly Old England next week to attend Chris' Naval Academy reunion, visit friends and family, and meet up (hopefully) with some Facebook and blogging buddies.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a proper holiday without squeezing as many gardens as possible into the itinerary. Since we’ll mainly be in the London area, we’ll be spoiled for choice with dozens of historic houses and gardens nearby. Here are a few places we hope to visit. Photos to follow!

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Photo courtesy Kew Gardens

Arguably the world’s most famous garden, Kew allows visitors to explore 300 acres of gardens and botanical glasshouses, including the breathtaking Palm House. Its collection includes over 30,000 different kinds of plants. The rose garden was totally redesigned in 2008 and now is home to over 100 varieties of the Queen of Flowers. 


Chiswick House Gardens

According to the English Heritage website, Chiswick House is a glorious example of 18th-century British architecture. The third Earl of Burlington, who designed this elegant Classical villa, drew inspiration from his "grand tours" of Italy.

The gardens, beloved for centuries, were the birthplace of the English Landscape Movement and have inspired countless gardens including New York's Central Park. A major project to restore and revive the gardens was completed in 2010.  

Chelsea Physic Garden

London's oldest botanic garden, Chelsea was founded in 1673 by the Worshipful  Society of Apothecaries for its apprentices to study the medicinal qualities of plants. The four acre green oasis has one of the oldest rock gardens in Europe, a Victorian Cool Fernery, beds of medicinal plants, botanical order beds, glasshouses, rare plants and tender species, plus the largest olive tree outdoors in Britain. At one time it was one of the most important centers of botany and plant exchange in the world.

Savill Garden

One of England’s finest ornamental gardens featuring 35 acres of interconnecting gardens and woodlands.  A few of the themed areas include The Spring Wood, The Summer Wood, The Hidden Gardens, The Summer Gardens, The Glades, Autumn Wood, The Azalea Walks and The New Zealand Garden.

We were last there in 2007 and since then, a rose garden has been added. Can’t wait to see how many of the 2500 bushes are in bloom.

Fenton House
A London gem, Fenton is a 17th century merchant’s house set in beautiful walled gardens which combine formal borders and a sunken rose garden. There is also a working kitchen garden and a 300-year-old apple orchard. The bee colony housed in the orchard produces honey that is available to buy.

The Garden Museum

After reading this description, I can’t wait to visit this place. In fact, it is close to the top of my list.

“The Garden Museum's permanent display includes a collection of antique tools exploring garden history. Temporary exhibitions and events also take place throughout the year. Outside, in the recreation of a seventeenth-century knot garden planted in honour of John Tradescant, intrepid plant hunter and gardener to Charles I, are the tombs of the Tradescants and Admiral Bligh of the Bounty. Topiaries, old roses, herbaceous perennials and bulbs give year-round interest, and most plants are labelled with their country of origin and year of introduction to the UK.  “

Buckingham Palace

Last winter, after an episode of Downton Abbey, we watched a wonderful documentary on PBS about The Queen’s Garden at Buckingham Palace. The program followed the garden over a year’s time, exploring the history and the natural history of this royal treasure in the center of London.

It was a fascinating look at a garden most of us will never get to see in person. Except, I am thrilled to announce I will be included in a private Press Tour of the Gardens and the State Rooms later this month.
Photo courtesy Tourist Information UK.

I can’t wait to see the royal bees, the Queen’s favorite roses, rare flowers bred exclusively for Her Majesty and all the other amazing sights there.

So watch this space for all the dirt on the Queen’s spectacular horticultural digs.

Until then, cheerio!

The knot garden at Great Fosters Hotel. We stayed there last trip.