Where to see spring flowers in London
Where? Chiswick House, Kenwood Garden, Isabella Plantation (Richmond Park).
Flowery fact Chiswick House is home to one of the world’s rarest varieties of camellias, the deep pink ‘Middlemist’s Red’. It was brought back from China in 1804 by Londoner John Middlemist and the only other known plant of this kind is in Waitangi, New Zealand. Hopping on a train to west London doesn’t seem like quite so much of a trek now, does it?
Image: Chiswick House, John Fielding
Where? Greenwich Park, St Paul’s Cathedral, Kew Gardens.
Flowery fact In Japan, cherry blossom is thought of as the unofficial national flower. They call it ‘sakura’, which is also the word for ‘raw horsemeat’. No prizes for guessing which will get you more likes on Instagram.
Image: Greenwich Park, @shadz_ig
Where? Osterley Park (Hounslow), Highgate Wood, Wanstead Flats.
When? Mid April-May.
Flowery fact Bluebells are a protected species, so don’t be tempted to pick them and take them home. What would Sir David Attenborough think?
Image: Osterley Park, @loucamera
Where? Green Park, Hampton Court Palace, St James’s Park.
Flowery fact Green Park is a sea of yellow in spring, with 1 million daffodils in bloom – but that’s the only time you’ll see flowers there. The park has no formal flower beds – rumour has it that’s because King Charles II’s wife had them removed after she caught him picking flowers there for another woman. Busted.
Image: St James’s Park, @rodwey2004
Where? Kew Gardens, Cannizaro Park (Wimbledon), Battersea Park.
When? March-early April.
Flowery fact Kew’s impressive ‘crocus carpet’ makes up just part of the whopping 5 million bulbs planted in the gardens. In total, it’s the biggest spring flower display in the country. Who needs the countryside?
Image: Kew Gardens, RBG Kew
Where? Peckham Rye Park, Hampstead Heath Pergola, Holland Park.
Flowery fact Built in the 1900s, the Hampstead Heath Pergola is as long as 1 Canada Square at Canary Wharf is tall. In spring, it’s even more impressive, as it gets covered with Parma Violet-coloured, sweet-smelling wisteria. Cop a whiff of that!
Image: Peckham Rye Park, @misskizzylew
Where? Buckingham Palace Memorial Gardens, Regent’s Park, Kensington Gardens.
Flowery fact Created in honour of Queen Victoria, the Memorial Garden outside Buckingham Palace is filled with around 50,000 yellow wallflowers and red tulips. Replanting takes up to ten staff around two weeks. That’s a lot of bad backs.
Image: Buckingham Palace, @piccoloexplorer
Where? Isabella Plantation, Kenwood House.
Flowery fact Hidden away in Richmond Park, Isabella Plantation is home to 100 different varieties of azaleas – but it hasn’t always been a flowery haven. Back in the seventeenth century, it was known as The Sleyt, which meant ‘boggy ground’. Doesn’t sound quite as aesthetically delightful.
Image: Isabella Plantation, Shereagh Dunphy
Where? Mayfield Lavender Farm (north Surrey), Vauxhall Park, Kennington Park.
Flowery fact You might associate lavender with sunny Provence, but you don’t need to cross the Channel to see rolling, perfumed fields of the stuff. Mayfield Lavender planted its gorgeous purple fields in 2010 to revive the historic lavender industry, which boomed here in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Entry costs just £2 per adult. Close your eyes and you might almost feel like you’re in France. Almost.
Image: Mayfield Lavender
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