It's that time of year when the azaleas and rhododendrons are in flower and what better place to see them in all their glory than the Isabella Plantation in Richmond Park. For those of you who aren't familiar with this London landmark, the Isabella Plantation is a 40 acre woodland garden set within a Victorian woodland plantation planted in the 1830s. It was first opened to the public in 1953 and it's best known for its azaleas which line the ponds and streams and are at their best in late April early May. Given the bad weather we've had recently they are a bit behind schedule and should be at their best about next week. The Plantation also is home to a wide variety of rhododendruns and many other rare and unusual trees and shrubs.
It's amazing how much inspiration for interior decoration you can gain from looking at nature and what better than a display of colour from acres of azaleas and rododendruns!! Their colours are simply mind-blowing when seen in a condensed area as they are in the Plantation.
When we arrived, we immediately entered the bluebell wood which had this sea of blue beneath the canopy. I was pleased to note that the bluebells are English bluebells and not the pesky Spanish bluebells which seem to be invading our woods.
It had rained heavily in the days leading up to our visit and also the night before so everything was heavy with rain and there was a lovely mist across the Plantation. However it was warm and the paths were not too soggy. I actually preferred to be there without direct sunlight as it's better for photography and also the azaleas and rhododendrons were only half out which made them a lot more interesting to view.
There is a huge variety of trees in the Plantation and some very beautiful trunks, especially after the rain.
Before I get to the azaleas which are obviously the star of the show, there are so many other features of the Plantation, not the least the pocket handerchief tree which my sister is totally obsessed with!!
The rhododendrons are also a feature of the plantation but had only just started to flower.
There are other interesting plants in the Plantation (I'm keeping you in suspense with the azaleas!)
And now for the star of the show, the azaleas. They were only 50% in flower but actually I preferred to see them like this than in full bloom
If you are in London in the next week or two, take the time to visit the Isabella Plantation as it really is a very special place.
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This post is for all you garden lovers. If you are lucky enough to live in London you have the chance to see the gardens of Petersham House, the home of the owners of Petersham Nurseries, Gael and Francesco Boglione. Their home is adjacent to the Nurseries and is a stunning Georgian house with extensive gardens, swimming pool and tennis court. They have a substantial vegetable garden which is used for the restaurant in the Nurseries.
Petersham Nurseries is one of those places that is good for the soul. It is all about beauty and style, both outside and inside. I'm there at least three times a month and have rarely left there empty handed!
It's a half hour drive from my home which takes me across Richmond Park, another place that is good for the soul. It's hard to believe that you are in a big city when you are in the middle of the park surrounded by trees, bracken and deer.
s many of you know, I love Petersham Nurseries and am a frequent visitor. It's described on their website as "Internationally prized garden centre, Petersham Nurseries is a tranquil oasis
and seedbed of inspiration" and that about sums it up. The highlight is always the shop which is in one of the glasshouses. The styling of the furniture, accessories, plants & flowers is superb and I find it a real inspiration. I love to wander around admiring and of course buying one or two things as it's very difficult to leave empty handed!
The stunning azaleas & rhododendrons in the Isabella Plantation in Richmond Park followed by tea & cake at Petersham Nurseries
Petersham is a wonderful place to appreciate the changing of the seasons. I particularly love the way the shop is styled with a mix of items for the home and plants & flowers. Their styling is superb and always a great inspiration. Take a look.