A Stroll in Richmond Park

Over the Bank Holiday weekend I spent a couple of days visiting my daughter in Surrey. After a morning of gardening we decided to skip a visit to Wisley and instead head off to Richmond Park, one of the Royal Parks in London. It’s a place we’ve been to before when the grandchildren were small, but not for many years for me.

Isabella’s Plantation was a favourite spot with a pretty stream leading to a pond and stepping stones and tiny bridges for youngsters to enjoy, but it was rather disappointing to find it very overgrown with reeds, Greater Willow herb and Joe Pye Weed in particular. So much so that we couldn’t even see the stream and most of the ponds were hidden from view. I’m all for rewilding places, but they still require management and maintenance. However, it is still a popular place for families to find some peace and enjoy a picnic (relatively speaking as huge planes pass overhead constantly and the non-native ring-necked green parakeets screech above your head).

Isabella Plantation

The Isabella Plantation is a 40 acre woodland garden set within a Victorian woodland plantation planted in the 1830’s. First opened to the public in 1953, it is best known for its evergreen azaleas, which line the ponds and streams and at their peak of flower in late April and early May. The site is managed very much with nature in mind and the gardens are run on organic principles. Native plants commonly grow alongside exotics throughout the Plantation. [source: Isabella Plantation]

I think spring time is probably the best season to visit this garden as there are many camellias and rhododendrons and azaleas planted and the native stuff would have died down over the winter.

Peg’s Pond Gate

We exited through Peg’s Pond Gate and walked around the perimeter of the garden under the large trees – oaks, beech, horse chestnuts – enjoying the filtered light and listening to the parakeets. It must have been a welcome shady place to be during the heatwave.

Dappled shade

On arriving back at the car park we decided to walk up to Pen Ponds in the centre of the park so the dog could have a run off the lead. You still need to be careful with your dog as there are deer roaming freely in the park and during May – August dogs must be kept on leads throughout the park.

Pen Pond Reflections

By the time we reached the ponds the sky had turned very black to the south, though still blue towards London. Despite the look of those clouds it didn’t rain a single drop.

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And we were lucky enough to see a few of the deer.

Jo’s Monday Walks

Garden Portrait: The Garden House Part II

The second part of my visit to The Garden House is of the Walled Garden and the terraced areas leading up to the Café.

On both sides of a very neatly mown grass path, which seemed far too good to actually walk on, there are deep double herbaceous borders, filled in late May with swathes of Alliums, Peonies, Lupins, Aconites, Wisteria and lots of other perennials just beginning to emerge.

More wisteria, bronze fennel, grasses and architectural plants such as the Melianthus major, Hostas and Ligularia.

These lupins in particular caught my eye, I just love the deep magenta pink colour

Eventually we made our way up to the Lower terrace and lawns to the café.

Behind the borders are more winding pathways among colourful shrubs and trees.

On every level there was planting to admire.

We didn’t have time to explore the lake and arboretum, as we wanted to have one last birthday treat and enjoy a Cream Tea – the Cornish way!

Naturally it was far too tempting not to have a look at the plant sales although I did intend only to look up the names of a geranium I fancied. However, resistance is futile and I walked away with a couple of new Hydrangea plants for the dappled shade border.

And there is always time to stop and smell the roses

It is a garden I would love to go back to in a different season and being less than 2 hours from home it is entirely possible that we can do it on a day out.

Jo’s Monday Walk

Garden Portrait: The Garden House Part I

My visit to south Devon would naturally have to include a garden tour. This time The Garden House in nearby Buckland Monachorum, a mere 15 mins from the hotel we were staying in. I have read a lot about this garden so I was expecting good things.

Originally a family home and private garden purchased by the Fortescue family back in 1945, The Garden House is now run by the Fortescue Garden Trust, a small charity committed to developing and maintaining this special place, for everyone to enjoy.

It is a true plantsman’s paradise.

Aquilegias
Hardy Geraniums

I have split this post into two parts – this one will take you around the main garden which consists of several areas all connected by meandering pathways. In some ways it reminded me very much of the delightful East Lambrook Manor garden which we visited last year, only much larger.

The first area is the summer garden which leads through to the cottage garden and to the ‘Magic Circle’. You can’t rush. There are so many beautiful plants to see and admire.

From there we wandered through the Acer Glade, around the Wildflower Meadow and along the Jungle Path to Wisteria Bridge. This part of the garden must look absolutely stunning in autumn dress.

Finally a Bulb Meadow takes you onto the lane across which you will find the Walled Garden which is the focus of my second post.

Jo’s Monday Walk