London has some of the best glasshouses in the world and some of the most interesting secret smaller ones, here’s my pick of a number worth visiting on a rainy day.
If not outside, the place I feel most at home is in a glasshouse. That smell of warm compost and seedlings in spring, the patter of rain on the roof during summer showers, the protected exotics safe in winter – childhood memories that stay with me. Is there anything more peaceful than the bright, otherworldly space bubble of a glasshouse? Like a time machine, you can in one moment imagine standing next to Charles Darwin and in another imagine being on the surface of Mars in a bio dome. Glasshouses are (strangely) rather rare things, so visiting one is always well worth the trip for the experience. Below are some of my favourites in London. Continue reading 8 Glasshouses to visit in London and why
After August’s overcast skies, in time for bank holiday weekend the sun is back for summer round two. This ‘mid-summer’ meh-weather seems to be a recurring theme in recent years. We’re tricked into thinking it’s autumn but actually we’ve still got months to go. We’re not the only ones, plants slow down in this period, I even spotted a Ginko turning yellow. Continue reading Pot’s Growing On? Summer part two
We’re particularly spoilt for exciting gardens in South London with a lean toward the exotic as the more tender plants thrive in our inner city microclimate. We’ve visited Clive Pankhurst’s garden a couple of times now on the NGS and were treated to a private tour this week. It is incredible. Continue reading Exciting exotics at 24 Grove Park, Camberwell open on the NGS
One of my coolest finds in London has to be the discovery of Shanks Pony Nursery in Vauxhall run by a chap called Andy (on Twitter) and his partner Julien. I was first made aware of Andy a year or so ago when I spotted a Brugmansia planted in a community bed in the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens park. Tweeting out about this unusual street bedding, people soon linked the Brugmansia to the culprit. Continue reading Shanks Pony Nursery in Vauxhall
It’s almost Christmas so I’m crazy busy wrapping up work, getting ready for the family arriving and trying to revise for my next RHS exams in February. There’s still time to squeeze in the odd few essential jobs in our small urban garden in central London though. Continue reading December: Hellebores, cat grass, sweet peas, ferns and shooting alliums
As part of the RHS Level 3 course we have to learn about different garden design eras, one of which is medieval. Lambeth Palace, the London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury, has an 11 acre site that has been cultivated since the 15th Century in medieval times. Unfortunately, though understandably, none of those elements remain. In place is an extravagant site with interesting plays on plantings. The gravel garden felt Mediterranean and has given me ideas for our own garden (I’ll always associate gravel like that with my first visit to East Ruston Old Vicarage). In particular, to my eye, the stand out features right now are some simple but beautiful experiments with grass. Continue reading Lambeth Palace Gardens