Loving London

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I am not a born Londoner, and for much of the time I like to believe I’d prefer living elsewhere. That is until I make the effort to deviate from my normal home-to-work route and experience the city anew. It has been my personal challenge for the last month to change my daily journey between Highgate and Victoria, taking in a new open space or urban village each time. Today’s departure took me to Regent’s Park, which I am ashamed to say I have barely set foot in during thirteen years working in the capital. This is, in a word, unforgivable.

Lime trees coming into leaf, Regent's Park, April 2014

I always feel that if any place – city, village or garden – doesn’t look its best in spring it’s got a problem. London this April has no such worries. The comparison with 2013, when spring remained stymied until May, is incredible. Regent’s Park is already filled with May’s flowers: low mists of forget-me-nots pierced by arrow-straight tulips, cumulus clouds of lilac and ceanothus; fluttering showers of virginal cherry blossom. Horse chestnuts and lime trees are already in leaf, their delicate tissue still so gossamer-thin that the evening sun shines straight through; a precious, fleeting moment in time. William Nestfield’s Avenue Gardens are bright and beautiful, the backdrop for many a happy, smiling snapper. Regent’s Park this evening was enough to restore anyone’s faith in human nature; a melting pot of nations, classes and ages, all enjoying this most elegant and democratic of spaces after a long day in the city. On days like today I do not feel content to live in London, but proud and priviledged.

Spring bedding, Regent's Park, April 2014

Categories: Bulbs, Flowers, Large Gardens, Musings, Parks, Plants

Posted by The Frustrated Gardener

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10 comments On "Loving London"

  1. Stunning, Stunning. Stunning – we can sort of match the trees but never the flowers. Drought and water issues mean that public areas no longer do these beautiful displays – its one of the reasons I love London so so much. the flower beds are amazing and the daffodils in the mall – just makes my heart sing. The flower beds in the gardens in London are to me, just the best in the world. (and the hanging baskets… another stunning treat.) thanks for sharing TFG!

    1. You would love it here at the moment Helen. We are having an amazing spring (deserved after a soggy winter), with day after day of cloudless, bright skies. The garden is growing so fast I can barely keep up and there is so much blossom. I am going to go back to Regent’s Park next week with my proper camera to take some decent pictures – these were the best my ancient iPhone could manage!

  2. We were there last summer to visit the open air theatre, which was magical, the setting is worth the visit alone. The long borders were looking fabulous then.

  3. I was in London yesterday too. I went to visit the Garden Museum but what really astounded me was the fact that some dark purple tall bearded irises were flowering in their garden and also across the river in the Victoria Tower Gardens. So early! I totally agree with you about Regents Park, it is a gorgeous park and I spent many happy afternoons there when I was a student at The Middlesex Hospital (a long time ago!). Helen

    1. It was just so lovely to see so many people genuinely enjoying themselves and appreciating their surroundings. I guess that is something you must see a lot at Sissinghurst. What did you make of the Garden Museum? My second shameful admission is that I have not been there either! Dan

  4. Ohhh TFG yes, I so wish I was there, only 4 more weeks to go. I am crossing my fingers that the daffs in the mall are still flowering when I am there. I will ask the taxi to drive me up and down the mall several times just to drink it all in. It is the most exquisite scene in the middle of one of the worlds most incredible cities and i feel I am living in another era when life was less frenetic. I love the St James park gardens too. I hope I have the name correct. The beds there are always gorgeous.

    So next week I have the grey skies of HK and Guangzhou…..so I am so looking forward the flower follies and London loveliness very soon. H

    1. Alas the daffs were almost done two weeks ago, although some of the late ones are still clinging on. I think it will be summer bedding by the time you arrive, but it means a good Chelsea. Last year too much was still in bud for the show. I remember the Cayeux bearded irises were hardly open at the end of May but this year they are coming out in gardens already. Our weather is so fickle! Have a super Easter Helen. Heading to the coast now for a nice relaxed weekend.

      1. sob sob sob re the daffs….Fingers crossed the weather is ‘just right’ and the blooms will be smiling when I arrive! have a really relaxing Easter – lucky me has spent the last two days in the office getting organised for HK/China trip …not the greatest Easter ever – but I have Chelsea on the horizon so that negates the ‘rubbish’!! All the best.

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