One of our favourite garden writers, Natasha Goodfellow, knows a thing or two about all things green and natural in the capital. Her new book, A London Floral, (Finch Publishing, £8.50) contains over 80 of London’s key floral destinations, from parks, markets and nurseries to botanic and physic gardens via trend-setting florists and flower schools. Illustrated beautifully by Clover Robin, you can order it here and makes the perfect little gift.
Many of the places listed below have varying opening hours, so please do check online before visiting, especially given the situation with coronavirus. Note too that most gardens will be at their best between April and October, and that flowers bloom at different times of the year. (£) denotes an entry charge applies.
Fenton House and Garden, Hampstead Grove NW3 (£)
Topiary? Tick. Garden rooms? Tick. A 300-year old orchard? Tick. A kitchen garden? Tick. A rose garden? Tick. All this and more is crammed into the garden of this merchant’s house, built in 1693. Late May/June is a good time to visit when the alliums are out, the echiums buzz with bees, and the air is heavy with the scent of mock orange.
Omved Gardens, Townsend Yard N6
A former garden centre, this is now a spectacularly beautiful garden just off Highgate High Street. Renowned Paul Gazerwitz is responsible for the design – a sinuous path snaking through weeping willows and block plantings of irises, lavender and sage, and wild borders of buttercups, daisies and red campion. Join the mailing list for news of openings and events.
The Midnight Apothecary at the Brunel Museum, Railway Avenue SE16 (£)
On Friday and Saturday evenings in summer, this circular garden crowning Brunel’s groundbreaking (literally) tunnel shaft has to be one of the nicest places to be. Delicious cocktails use ingredients from the garden – sage, mint, blackberries, lemon verbena – and marshmallows are on hand for toasting over the brazier. The tours of the shaft are not to be missed.
79 Fulham Palace, Bishop’s Ave SW6
We have plant-loving Bishop Compton (1632-1713) to thank for Fulham Palace Garden’s reputation as one of London’s oldest botanic gardens. Now, a restoration has reinstated many of Compton’s exotic plants and there’s also a walled garden with an apple tunnel skirted in lavender, and a charming knot garden filled with perennials.
Inner Temple Garden, off Middle Temple Lane EC4Y
It’s worth planning your day around this garden’s opening times – for the stunning borders at the north end, for the collection of hydrangeas and rare trees (including a dawn redwood) and for the eye-catching planting combinations such as a whitebeam underplanted with a sea of ferns and white alliums.