Visit London Blog » gardens Enjoy the very best of London Mon, 13 Apr 2015 14:17:43 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Other Flower Show: The Chelsea Physic Garden Wed, 08 Aug 2012 15:00:51 +0000 "Pertaining to Things Natural" sculpture exhibition at the Chelsea Physic Garden
It’s been on the London map for 340 years, but the Chelsea Physic Garden still remains a sanctuary from the city that surrounds it.

Founded by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries to help train apprentices in identifying plants, the garden and its collection of around 5,000 useful, exotic and medicinal plants form one of the world’s oldest botanic gardens.

Expansions and additions from successive head gardeners mirror discoveries in botany and horticultural fashion. Two examples are a fascinating pharmaceutical garden, and the UK’s oldest rockery – compete with giant clam shells brought to London by Captain Cook on HMS Endeavour!

Free guided tours by well-informed volunteers help bring the garden to life for those more interested in the history than the horticulture of the garden. These are usually available two or three times each day (timings vary).

Currently appearing at the garden is “Pertaining to Things Natural“, a series of outdoor sculptures by more than 20 leading artists. Each of these artworks responds in some way to its surroundings, ranging from a beautifully fluid marble screen to a pink metal spiral.

“Pertaining to Things Natural” runs until 31 Oct. The garden is open until 10pm every Wednesday until 5 September. Tickets to the garden are also 2-4-1 until 9 September if you present your Oyster card. Find out more on

Are you a fan of London’s gardens and parks? Let us know your favourite in the comments section below.

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Chelsea Flower Show: Interview with Landscape Architect Bunny Guinness Mon, 23 May 2011 09:00:55 +0000 The Chelsea Flower Show opens tomorrow! To celebrate, we spoke to landscape architect Bunny Guinness, who is exhibiting her 9th show garden at Chelsea this year. The M&G Garden is a modern take on a traditional kitchen garden. We spoke to Bunny as she made her final preparations for the show:

Tell us a bit about the garden you’re creating at Chelsea Flower Show this year?

It’s basically a vegetable and herb garden. The most modern element is a large flat glass platform which covers the seating area. It weighs three tonnes!

This is your 9th year at Chelsea Flower Show. What’s so special about it that keeps you coming back?

I’m a glutton for punishment! It is hard work and difficult because you get the same rectangular space every time. But it’s fun because you create a garden in two weeks that would usually take 10 years. I think the team like it too – it’s buzzy.

The show sells out every year, why do you think people love it so much?

It’s all the razzmatazz – people come for the show gardens really. All the gardens are extreme and different. It’s so inspirational and exciting. Also because it’s small, you can’t fit that many people in and that contributes to the atmosphere. It’s a stunning show.

Do you have any tips for people visiting Chelsea Flower Show for the first time?

When you look at a garden don’t just think “wow”, try to analyse why you like it and take some tips home. It’s all about scale this year – big is beautiful. It’s fun to play around with scale.

Are there any gardens at the show that you’re particularly looking forward to seeing this year?

All of them because you walk past them twice a day and they are constantly changing. The Sheffield University guys are doing a good job. The Telegraph garden also looks good. There are lots of foreign gardeners here which is great because the show attracts a mass audience and if you show here you can get into media all over the world.

What are the final preparations you’ll be making now?

The very last thing is to wheel out the tulips which have been kept in a refridgerated store. They’ll pepper the garden with colour and add a bit of zing. Hopefully if it’s not too hot, they’ll last all week.

What’s your favourite garden in London?

I’m looking forward to seeing the planting in the perennial meadows at the Olympic Park – it’s some great planting work which will have some great colour.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Royal Hospital Chelsea, 24-28 May 2011

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Monaco in London: Monaco Garden at Chelsea Flower Show Wed, 30 Mar 2011 11:29:12 +0000 What do London and Monaco have in common? Well, Monaco’s also awaiting a Royal Wedding as Prince Albert of Monaco announced his engagement last year. And the tiny state is the same size as London’s Hyde Park!

But there’s one more thing: this year a little piece of the Mediterranean is coming to London as the Principality of Monaco is launching its first ever garden at Chelsea Flower Show.

The garden was commission by Prince Albert II and will represent a private roof garden in Monaco. It is designed to reflect the natural topography and geography of Monaco and will be planted with a wide range of exotic plants from the region.

In keeping with Prince Albert’s reputation as The Green Prince, the garden will focus on sustainability, including a flat roof system that collects rain for use in water features and a pool that is naturally filtered.

Award-winning British gardener Sarah Eberle commented:

“I am delighted to be the designer selected to work with a dedicated team, including designers, administrators and advisors, in bringing an exciting conceptual garden to Chelsea that reflects the character, personality and vibrancy of Monaco.

“I have been involved in the industry for 35 years, and in designing and constructing show gardens for 20 of those years. I can honestly say that this is one of, if not the most exciting project that I have worked on and I promise you all a garden that will delight and excite the senses.”

See the Monaco garden at the Chelsea Flower Show,  24-28 May 2011. Book tickets

Where else can you find Monegasque culture in London? Tell us in the comments below.

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Visit London Asks: What’s Your Favourite Cycle Route in London? Mon, 02 Aug 2010 08:30:26 +0000

London’s long-anticipated Cycle Hire Scheme launched on Friday. Have you signed up yet? Tell us about your maiden voyage!

Whether you’ve joined the Cycle Hire Scheme or not, Visit London wants to know where you enjoy riding in London. Do you like to cycle by London’s waterways, are you an urban road rider, or do you take advantage of the bike paths of London’s many parks and open spaces?

Tell us about your favourite cycle routes in London.

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Photo of the Week: The Geffrye Museum Gardens Sat, 26 Jun 2010 08:00:31 +0000

This week’s photo features the Geffrye Museum‘s gardens on a lovely summer day. The museum has five attractive walled gardens, including a traditional herb garden with plants for medicine, cosmetic use and cooking.

If you’re out and about enjoying London this week, don’t forget to take some photos and add them to the Visit London Flickr pool.

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Photo of the Week: Kyoto Gardens in Holland Park Sat, 05 Jun 2010 08:00:39 +0000

Ewan-M shared this great photo of the Kyoto Gardens in Holland Park with the Visit London Flickr Pool. You don’t need to travel far to find a tranquil retreat in London!

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Things To Do This Bank Holiday Weekend in London Fri, 30 Apr 2010 15:06:00 +0000

We’re just hours away from the Bank Holiday (it starts when you leave the office, right?) but have you made any plans yet? Come rain (as forecast) or shine (hopefully) there’s plenty going on in the capital this weekend:

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V&A Friday Talks in London: Celia Birtwell, Richard Mabey, Anna Pavord and Kew Gardens Tue, 15 Sep 2009 10:22:40 +0000 Illustration by Margaret Mee. Image Royal Botanical Gardens KewOn Friday nights, the V&A offers inspiring talks featuring some of the biggest names in art, design and culture.

Last Friday’s talk celebrated the 250th anniversary of the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew. The theme was the inspiration of nature.

The speakers were designer Celia Birtwell, naturalist Richard Mabey, journalist Anna Pavord and David Mabberley, the keeper of Kew’s Herbarium. (When there are portraits of Michelangelo, Holbein and Inigo Jones watching from the walls of the lecture theatre, you need an impressive line up like this!)

Acclaimed designer Celia Birtwell was top of the bill. Celebrated for her hand-drawn floral print fabric, Celia revealed she created one of her famous prints while sketching at the V&A. Celia talked us through many of her famous designs, sharing the inspiration behind each piece.

(If you’re wishing you had a designer budget to buy Celia’s work, she’s recently designed a purse-friendly new cover for Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights!)

Richard Mabey spoke about the devastation caused by the big storm of 1987. Kew lost many rare trees, but unexpectedly the damage wasn’t all bad, as it gave the scientists access to the roots and their underground world for the first time.

Anna Pavord described the wild landscapes of Kazakhstan, Scotland and Cumbria. Anna’s eloquent thoughts about nature provided an enjoyable take on the way the natural world can inspire the written word.

The Herbarium at Kew contains more than 7 million plant specimens and many paintings of plants. The drawings are stored by species so you’ll find all the cabbage paintings together. David Mabberley spoke about the illustration side of the collection and the way it inspires Kew’s conservation work.

Did you know that the illustration of plants dates back to antiquity? That repeatedly drawing a plant from previous drawings over centuries creates a sort of Chinese whispers effect of changing and simplifying the information? David also told the audience a story about a drawing of a mythical Barnacle Goose Tree from the 1500s which convinced a few people that geese grow on trees.

All that in just over an hour! You can book a ticket to a Friday night talk for £8 (£6 concessions) and it’s worth every penny. At the end, there’s usually a chance for you to ask questions and get books signed.

Find out what’s coming up at the V&A’s Friday Talks here. Your favourite designers might be up next!

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Lunchtime in London – How About a Picnic with Ben Fogle? Fri, 03 Jul 2009 15:50:28 +0000 Ben Fogle hands out lunches to hungry LondonersSnack bar makers Nature Valley held a “secret” picnic in Russell Square today to encourage us to leave our desks and keyboards behind and enjoy our lunch hours outside.

Nature Valley gave out free picnic lunches for the first 2,000 picnic-ers (as well as plenty of Granola bars of course!)

But there was more than just free food on offer – the delicious Ben Fogle was on hand to guide us around some of London’s hidden parks and squares, as well as to give out lunches.

Ben even managed to coax out the sun on an otherwise cloudy day, and office workers enjoyed a live jazz band, giant garden games and a chill-out zone.

I may not be able to match Ben’s jaw-dropping adventures in the Arctic, or the Atlantic, but I’m definitely inspired to venture outside and discover more of London in my lunch hours from now on.

What do you get up to in your lunch hour?

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