Thursday, 28 June 2012 9:17 AM
Summer is here (well, for the moment anyway!) so it’s time to don the flip-flops and spend some quality time in London’s gardens.
Here’s my pick for a blooming good time:
Chelsea Physic Garden
The Chelsea Physic Garden is the second oldest botanical garden in England; founded by the Society of Apothecaries in 1673. The three and a half-acre garden has one of the oldest rock gardens in Europe, which features a number of rare and endangered plant species. Not only that, Chelsea Physic Garden houses the largest outdoor fruiting olive tree in Britain and the world’s most northerly outdoor grapefruit tree!
Charlton House Peace Garden
In 2006 Greenwich council offered Amnesty International the walled garden of Charlton House, a Jacobean mansion, for their Violence Against Women campaign. The hundreds of plants featured in the garden were donated by the Women's Action network following a fundraising appeal. The garden was designed by Andrew Fisher-Tomlin on the theme of harmony, using cool, soft and reflective colours.
Once a medieval palace, now turned art deco mansion, this palace has a host of beautiful gardens – such as the moat garden that reflects the history of the palace, the rock garden (all the rage in the 1930s), and the imposing inner court garden.
And once you’re done…
Once you have had a stroll, it’s time to enjoy a very British tradition – afternoon tea.
The Intercontinental Park Lane has launched a special afternoon tea. The chefs at this historical hotel have taken the flowers – and even weeds that grow in your garden – to make Botanical Afternoon Tea.
You begin with cardamom and vanilla infused champagne – a delightfully sweet drink. Then you enjoy the botanical pear pearl drop, which tickles the taste buds.
The best of British food has been used here, and you can enjoy a selection of Nettle-marinated asparagus rolled in Sirloin of beef, Scottish lobster and shrimp with Sevruga caviar and fresh dill, and Smoked eel with horseradish and cucumber, and apple relish.
The scones are warm, as they should be, and are made with orange peel and buttermilk, and on the top tier are the cakes. Cakes are what makes life enjoyable, and these are botanical pleasures. Mancha green tea bavarois with red peach jelly, Mandarin tart, Coconut and fennel white chocolate torte, and Blueberry crème brûlée macaroons are among the selection you get.
My favourite was the Mancha green tea Bavarois and the Blueberry crème brûlée.
This is a very elegant way to end an afternoon of strolling around London’s gardens.
By Cat Hughes