Why is it that as one gets older you tend to start enjoying gardening more? I guess it’s as simple as slowing down to (literally) smell the roses. Lockdown has of course assisted this slower, more appreciative approach to nature’s wonders and together with various friends I’ve been thorougly enjoying the various seasons in the middle of Richmond Park more than ever, now that it has reopened to visitors.
Isabella Plantation is a 40 acre woodland garden set within a Victorian woodland plantation that was first planted in the 1830’s. It first opened to the public in 1953 it is best known for its evergreen azaleas, rhododendrons and camellias, plus many other rare and unusual trees and shrubs. It has a charmingly tranquil, almost Japanese garden feel to it, with native and exotics plants growing alongside each other. Over the past few years there has been a significant investment to improve biodiversity and increase access and it has certainly paid off.
I started walking through there with my girlfriends on our regular weekly walk as soon as it reopened and it’s been lovely to enjoy the changing seasons. At the moment the splendid displays of rhododendrons and azalea’s are at peak wonderfulness. Just bursting exuberantly with brilliant colours, a different colour scheme to be found in every direction.
I would recommend that you get there if you can, it’s a joy to behold – but getting quite busy at the weekends now. I’m just going to show you an array of photos, which speak louder than words:-
In early spring, the lilies (if that’s what they are) looked like torches lining the river bed:-
Now they look like this:-
The buds have now all gone and been replaced with bursts of colour:-
They have a beautiful bluebell patch – they’ve all gone now too – best in May:-
A joy come rain or shine:-