No matter how frazzled I’m feeling, a visit to Kew Gardens with a friend always sorts me out. It’s impossible to feel anything but a sort of peaceful joy when faced with trees in their new spring green, the bluebell woods, tree reflections in the lakes, and the variety of colours of the flowers in the Broad Walk. So, if you, too, feel in need of some soothing nature, here is what you can see in Kew Gardens in early May.
The bluebell woods
Continue reading Kew Gardens in Spring
When I first knew the space which is now Culpeper Community Garden in London, it was an unloved bit of waste land, created thanks to the Luftwaffe dropping their left-over bombs on it after raids bombing the Kings’ Cross area. Rosebay willow herb grew there among the remains of bomb craters and bits of brick.
View of Culpeper Community Garden entrance from south. The weeping willow has just come into leaf
Continue reading From Bombsite to Small Community Garden
In June this year, Kew Garden’s newly-designed summer herbaceous borders in the famous Broad Walk opened to the public, and they are sensational. There are more than 27,000 flowering plants on show.
Richard Wilford’s 2016 Broad Walk
At 320 metres long, it is the longest double herbaceous border in the country – and possibly in the world. Continue reading Kew Gardens: Stunning Summer Colour
Ever since Roman times, the rich and powerful have built villas in the hills surrounding Rome to escape the summer’s heat. Some, like Hadrian’s villa at Tivoli, still survive. Others, like Castel Gandolfo, built in the 17th century for Pope Urban VIII as a summer palace, were built on top of Roman villa sites. And why not? The land was already levelled and useful top quality building material was there for the taking.
Castel Gandolfo, the papal summer palace
Continue reading From Domitian’s Villa to the Papal Barberini Gardens
This is one of the first things that greets you at the Park of Monsters, a.k.a. the Park of Wonders or the Sacred Grove at Bomarzo, in Lazio, Italy. It is so huge that when you stand up inside the gaping mouth you have to reach up to touch its teeth!
The Mask of Madness
Continue reading Bomarzo: The Park of Monsters