Tuesday, June 22


Christian, Madeleine and I stroll Richmond Park late Sunday afternoon eventually finding a favorite spot - the Isabella Plantation. The area, in the smack middle of the park, is a 1950's woodland garden planted in once marshy land and now an immense canvas bursting with white, yellow, pink, red and purple petals. The flowers are at their peak at the end of April/beginning of May so we may have missed the best but here I snap a friendly iris who seems to say 'hello, summer.' Silver would be enraptured.

Isabella has 15 known varieties of deciduous azalea and houses the national collection of 50 Kurume Azaelas, introduced to the west around 1920s. There are also 50 different species of rhododendron and 120 hybrids. In spring, we see camellias, magnolias, as well as daffodils and bluebells. From late April, the
azaleas and rhododendrons are in flower. In summer, there are displays of Japanese irises and day lilies. By autumn, guelder rose, rowan and spindle trees are loaded with berries and leaves on the acer trees are turning red. Even in winter, the gardens have scent and colour. There are early camellias and rhododendron, as well as mahonia, winter-flowering heathers and stinking hellebore. Madeleine heads straight for a well-know spot.