London calling…

London Abbey through the Park“When a man is tired of London; he is tired of life…”  Samuel Johnson.

London is my favorite city in the world.  We were lucky enough to live there in the 1980’s, and we return as often as we can.

 London Green Park viewsFleeing cold, snowy (still) New England recently, we found ‘Spring had sprung’ beautifully in London.  This sight over Green Park was balm for these winter weary travellers.

Narcissus in the ParkOur house was on a lovely street, bound at one end by Hyde Park, where the month of March is celebrated with thousands of narcissus.

London urnsIn our, and many, neighborhoods around London it was de rigueur to plant window boxes, planter boxes and urns, changing them every couple of months.  One of my first memories of London from the 1970’s were successions of lavish window boxes bursting with blue and white cineraria, Senecio cruentis.

 London Ivy roping with kalanchoeThat tradition seemed to have died out so I made it my mission to find reminders of that gentler past.  These window boxes are planted with a little leaf box, Kalanchoe, and intertwined ivy that makes a series of looped-like roping.

London cottage in MayfairIt wasn’t until the last day, walking the streets near Berkeley and Grosvenor Squares did I come upon a vision of the past.  These ivy and pink Cyclamen distinguish this elegant London cottage.

London Mount Street GardenOne of London’s most charming smaller parks is tucked away between Farm, South Audley and Mount Streets.  Partially enclosed by tall Victorian buildings on two sides and the Grosvenor Chapel on another, Mount Street Gardens is a favorite spot for sitting and the multitude of benches, many dedicated to Americans, are testament to this enjoyment.

London Mount Street primrosesThe walk in from Mount Street is bedded out with violet and white primroses.

 London Canary Island palm underplanted with tulipsShowing a variety of juxtapositions of temperate plant collections, the garden is dominated by a Canary palm, Phoenix canariensis underplanted with tulips and wall flowers, while magnolias, hollies and camellias flower nearby.  The main trees of the part are London plane trees, Plantanos x hispanica.  The Chusa Palm flourishes here along with Acacia.

London Magnolia in Cadogan SquareLondon Magnolias and St. Paul'sLondon Spencer House from Queen's WalkNot all the magnolias were in Mount Street Gardens, these were in (from top) Cadogan Square, St. Paul’s Garden and Spencer House.

London primroses in plantersLondon primroses window boxLondon Liverpool Street Station PrimrosesPrimroses were in planters too — everywhere from Chelsea to Liverpool Street Station.  Eight straight days of sunshine and warmth in my kinda’ town – heaven!!


About Susan

Susan Detjens is a former landscape painter, she lectures, demonstrates and runs workshops on floral design for museums, horticultural organizations and garden clubs across the US.
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One Response to London calling…

  1. Alexandra says:


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