Hamamelis virginiana is a most remarkable plant native to north America. It is also known as common or American witch hazel. It is always in use as a true medicinal plant and it is a plant of great ornamental beauty. Hamamelis vernalis, or the Ozark Witch Hazel, is native to Central America. Hamamelis ovalis, or Leonard's Witch Hazel, was only found in 2004 and although an American native is new to science.
The Floral Marquee at Hampton Court is vast and very crowded. There are plants on display that have already been judged for medals, as well as plants for sale from the nurseries. The whole showground set in such an astonishing place is a spectacle not to be missed by anyone.
Cardinal Wolsey started Hampton Court Palace in 1514, but when he fell out of favour it fell into the hands of King Henry VIII. It has had many changes by successive monarchs, but no member of the Royal Family has lived there since the 18th century. It is now a Historic Royal Palace and receives no government funding for its upkeep at all. Aside from the flower show, the Palace's own gardens are superb and the Tudor garden is a must.
The Chelsea Flower Show is an eagerly awaited event after our long winter. It is the first time everyone gets together and can see the new plants as well as creations of sculptors and artists. A lot of gardeners use it as a social event, or to order sensational plants for the coming season in whatever variety interests them. On the final day a lot of the plants are sold off and London is awash with a sea of plants. It is a truly amazing sight!
When sowing petunias in a seed tray, it is best to do it indoors as the seeds are very fine indeed, and any wind will blow them everywhere. Make sure the compost is damp, and when you open the seed packet, tap the seeds carefully in the seed packet to the end of it, then tap the seed packet very gently with your finger, while moving your other hand to make sure they are evenly distributed. Do not cover them with more compost or water with a big watering can. Use one of the little hand-held mist sprayers that people use for houseplants.
The large and small Show Gardens at Hampton Court were next on my agenda. The ancient, majestic trees in the distance beckoned me towards them. This most beautiful place offered so many things to see, let's take a look at them.
As the sun came out, my day at Hampton Court beside the River Thames was getting better, apart from the odd shower. Now I could at last get out and wander on this hallowed ground. Join me as I finish in the floral marquee and go for another trek.
Hampton Court Palace is in Surrey, which is to the west of London and lies on the side of the River Thames. The first Flower Show was held here in 1990 but it was not until 1993 that it became a Royal Horticultural Society Show. By concentrating on environmental issues, growing your own, and cookery, it was different from the Chelsea Flower Show. It also allowed people to test new tools and to buy plants, neither of which is allowed at the Chelsea Show until the last day. Please join me as I venture through the Surrey mud to see what I can find.
Built in 1514, Hampton Court Palace was home to King Henry VIII and is stunning, as are the gardens. It is now also home to the worlds biggest flower show! Unfortunately the day I went it rained and rained, but bear with me as I go through acres of mud to show you some of the sights!
This year's Chelsea was a resounding success, both for the visitors and exhibitors alike; a truly captivating array of colour and wonderful horticultural skills, in what are unfavourable economic times. All I saw were smiles and looks of disbelief, as people met old plants they knew, and new plants they had never seen before. So join me on a last trip around Chelsea, before I can put my boots away for a short time.
Although the first show, The Great Spring Show, goes back to 1862 it was not until 1913 that the show was moved to the Grounds of the Royal Hospital at Chelsea. It immediately took the name of Chelsea, and has been the Chelsea Flower Show ever since. It has always been an international show and with modern transportation anything is now possible at this amazing event. Join me on yet another march around Chelsea.
I hope that just some of the sights of the Chelsea Flower Show in my last article has made you want to see what else was there. There was an awful lot to see and to capture. Chelsea is always full of surprises and this year was no exception. I have always thought of the Chelsea Flower Show to be wrongly named as it is not just about flowers and plants, but has everything, as you will see. So as I have my boots on, let us go and see what we can find!
Despite the driest April and May I can remember, Chelsea this year again raised the standards for everyone else to follow. How do you get the most famous Flower Show in the world any better? Please follow me on some trips through the legend that is the Chelsea Flower Show.
Hyde Park crosses into Kensington Gardens which is another Royal Park and a mere 275 acres. It is quiet compared to Hyde Park, yet has a lot of beauty of its own. The Italian Fountains that were commissioned by Queen Victoria are very famous, as well as the Serpentine Gallery. On the south side is Kensington Palace, the London Home of Princess Diana, and Princess Diana's children's playground. But it also has the Peter Pan statue, which is much loved by all. Then I will double back through Hyde Park on the south side of the serpentine, and other places. I hope you will enjoy my long walk with me.
Hyde Park is the largest green space in central London at just over 350 acres. It is now famous for the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain, and other things associated with Princess Diana. However its history is immense as it is known to go back before the Norman invasion in 1066. King Henry VIII then got the land off the canons of Westminster Abbey in 1536 and kept it as a deer park and hunting ground for himself. King Charles I in 1637 finally opened it to the public. It also hosted the Great Exhibition in 1851 in the infamous Crystal Palace. This was then moved to Sydenham Hill in southeast London; and the area became known as Crystal Palace. The Crystal Palace burnt down on November 30th, 1936 Please come with me on a walk around one of London's Great Royal Parks.
After untold snow and ice, winter finally left and we had nearly two weeks of mild weather. Then the cold winds started and rain with it for what seems an age now. Unable to go out and do anything. I vowed that the first dry day we have, I would go out and get some pictures. That day was today and it was surprising to say the least. Snowdrops, still out with Magnolia, are just about to go into full flower. What a strange spring!
A house called the Rookery was here on this site with a spa, but when the spa declined in popularity the Rookery's formal gardens and spa were bought and turned into a public garden. It was the local people, who bought the land for £3,000, that saved this astonishing place. A three-acre garden was built, including a water garden, formal gardens, a stunning white garden, herbaceous borders, an English garden, fantastic trees, ponds, and much more. Let me take you on a walk around this tiered and secret garden.
I do hope you enjoyed your first tour of this stunning place. Now let me show you what happened on the night of October 30, 1936 as disaster struck. Coincidentally, New York's own Crystal Palace met a similar fate in 1857. There is also a lot more to the Park than you may think. Get your picnic hamper ready and let us see what else we can find in this amazing place.
The Crystal Palace was a massive iron and glass structure built for the Great Exhibition in 1851, originally it was in Hyde Park, a Royal Park, in London. Prince Albert came up with the idea of showing the world Britain's industrial revolution. It was designed by the famous Sir Joseph Paxton; in 1851 when the Exhibition closed, he came up with the idea of moving this colossal building to Penge Place Estate in southeast London. Punch magazine in a satirical moment called it the "Crystal Palace" and the name stuck, so this part of Sydneham became known as Crystal Palace. This exhibits were in fact from all over the world; the USA, Egypt, France & Germany to name but a few. The displays were set into categories; raw materials, machinery, manufacturers and fine arts. It was too big to be financially viable and on a fateful night in 1936 disaster struck.
I do hope you enjoyed Part I of the Palace and Gardens. Let us take another walk and see what else we can find in the 19 acres around the Palace, both old and new! There were a few surprises and all of them very nice ones.
Eltham Palace is a place of many contrasts. First recorded in the Domesday book in 1086 AD, it was then owned by the Bishop of Bayeaux. In 1305 it was given to the Crown and taken over by King Edward II, a succession of monarchs then extended and improved it including King Henry IV and King Edward IV. King Henry VIII grew up here and both he and his daughter Queen Elizabeth I also added to it! The Last Royal resident was King Charles I, who lost the Palace and his life during the English civil war in 1648 when a lot of the Palace was demolished. It was during the 18th century that it was used as a barn, until in the 19th century people called for it to be restored! In 1933 the Courtaulds, a very rich family, leased the land and built an Art Deco Palace attached to the Great Hall that was built in 1470. As you will see they also did a bit to the Garden.
The first enclosure at Winchester was built in 150 BC during the Iron Age, at the same time that a trading center was established. In 70 AD the Romans arrived and called Winchester "Venta Belgarum - marketplace of the Belgae," a regional capital. Then in 410 AD the Romans left and the capital collapsed. In 648 AD the first minster was founded as Christianity came to Winchester, now called the old minster. After the City's surrender to William the Conqueror in 1066, he started to build the present cathedral. The history of what was once the capital of England is so great it would need two lifetimes to even learn it all!
In this day and age with all the chain owned, supermarket style Garden Centres, it is a pleasure to have a family run business with their own Garden Centre. This is a place for plant lovers, from beginners to the experienced. With helpful and knowledgeable staff, If they haven't got what you want, they will try to get if for you!
I hope you enjoyed Part 1 of my articles on this amazing place. To those of you who have been to Greenwich, some of the places are recognizable instantly, some are not. A lot of people travel thousands of miles and never actually get to see what the Park, the Royal Naval College or indeed Greenwich has to offer. If you ask most people if they have ever seen the Roman remains in the Park, they have no idea there were any!
Greenwich has more history than most people could research in their lifetime. From stone age tools found in Greenwich, the Romans in AD43, the Saxons settlement in the 10th century, to the Danes who in 1011 kidnapped Archbishop Alfege for a ransom, it is an amazing place. When the ransom was not paid, he was murdered and St. Alfege's Church stands in Greenwich to this day! Many of the things in Greenwich the tourists don't see, as they simply don't know about them.
This is one way our community can say thank you to a Landlord with passion. He loves golf, horse racing, Gaelic football, rugby, soccer, but more than that, he has won Pub Of The Year for his beer for two years running now. What they fail to mention is his hard work and passion to make everyone welcome, young or old. Children are welcome in his garden; his love of his garden and those who visit it indicate to us the depth of his family values.
Despite a few articles in the press before the show wondering what Chelsea will be like in the financial crisis, plus their normal doom & gloom; the horticulturalists and everybody else involved in the world's most famous flower show gave them all a quick lesson in how it can and should be done!
Hornimans Museum was one man's dream, and he fulfilled it. Fredrick John Horniman was a tea trader who started collecting Natural History and other artifacts from all over the world for his family home in southeast London in 1860. However his collection outgrew his home, so he had a new Museum designed and built in 1898, which was opened to the Public in 1901. At first it was for Natural History specimens and musical instruments, but he acquired art & crafts, fossils and Egyptian mummies. He donated the museum and gardens to the people of London, "as a free gift to the people of London forever for their recreation, instruction and enjoyment." It is now as it was then, a free museum and gardens.
Dulwich Park is famous for its Rhododendrons and Azaleas in May, but there is a lot more to this wonderful place than that. Its wildfowl and wildlife abound; it is managed with the environment in mind, proving an area of outstanding beauty and historical interest can be a place for everyone as well!
Dulwich was known to exist as a hamlet in 967AD and the word Dulwich in old English literally means "where dill grows." In the later Victorian era 'American Gardens' were becoming popular so an "American Garden' was designed in 1887 and opened to the public in 1890. Queen Mary enjoyed her visits here to see the Rhododendrons and Azaleas; she in fact made an annual visit every year in May! Although a much loved park by Queen Mary, it is not a Royal Park like our eight Royal Parks in and around London.
These beautiful plants have been found as fossils over 150 million years old. Like a lot of plants, they are suffering from deforestation and are taken from the wild as the loggers can sell them. Unfortunately they are expensive and have become a sort of status symbol for some.
This incredibly beautiful and historic park is a hidden jewel, 237 acres of pure magic and mystery. I always did find something to stare and wonder at years ago when I first worked in it; I still do on the regular visits I take now. It is simply an enigmatic, awesome and breathtaking place of indescribable beauty set in vast proportions.
People think of London as a sprawling mass of concrete or lots of old ancient buildings with an untold history, but it is a lot more than that. Around London is the protected 'Green Belt' and in London itself there are many green spaces; from the giant Royal Parks, Botanic Gardens, privately owned parks to more modest parks, then the Victorian Parks, down to the much used Municipal\Council Parks; all beautiful and each one designed and kept for a different use and reason.
Everybody seemed happy in the sun. Instead of looking down at the ground on their way to work, people held their heads high and were stopping to look at the wonderful spring flowers. Then it became overcast and the rain started; cold days and very cold nights set in for a week. On Monday morning we all awoke to clear blue skies; the sun came out, and everything was suddenly happy once again.
The Chelsea Flower Show is the most famous flower show in the world. Vitally important for the whole of the Horticultural community, it is also important to everyone from statue and furniture makers, to Artists, clothing designers, hat makers, newly released books and the must-have gadgets of the moment. To many people, it is the place to see new plants, to place an order for some or just a social event. Others like to meet the TV gardeners or simply to get a plant identified.