The weekend was spent visiting various gardens across parts of London as part of the Open Squares Weekend – from nature reserves to formally laid out affairs – all had their own unique charm.

I think my heart goes to the nature reserves, although it would be nicer if they had more space to sit and relax rather than being so determinedly devoted to “the cause”.

The full set of photos can be found over at Flickr as usual.

Drapers’ Hall Garden

A small private garden on some back streets that have been recently improved by local builders. Had a pleasant charm which was boosted by its quiet back-street location.

The current design dates from 1928, although the garden itself dates from 1543. The Drapers’ Company

Drapers' Hall Garden

Drapers' Hall Garden

Fann Street Wildlife Garden

A volunteer run nature reserve on the edges of the Barbican complex with a narrow dead-end path which was quite charming, and a wide path that runs around a central wild grasses area. A ” hotel” for insects is new this year. A guide lamented the local council for not clearing some overgrown areas, and my socialist side nodded in sympathy while my capitalist side wondered why they couldn’t clear it themselves.

Fann Street Wildlife Garden

Fann Street Wildlife Garden

Fann Street Wildlife Garden

Maughan Library and ISC Garden

Awesome building, but slightly insipid garden – allegedly designed as series of contemplative rooms – but felt more like a slightly neglected domestic back garden.

Maughan Library and ISC Garden

Carlton House Terrace Gardens

Directly opposite a regular haunt of mine – the Royal Society – is this long private garden for local residents/workers with a large lawn area and quaint pathways that weave around planted bedding. This is the sort of formal garden I like – open places to rest, with hidden corners to disappear into.

Carlton House Terrace Gardens

Carlton House Terrace Gardens

The Red Arrows

A short stop on the Mall to watch the RAF flypast for the Queen’s Birthday.

Red Arrows fly over The Mall

The  Phoenix Garden

This is actually open to the public during the week, and must be a boon for local workers. A nature reserve style garden that was rescued from a waste-land in the 1980s by the local residents. www.phoenixgarden.org

The Phoenix Garden

The Phoenix Garden

Ladybird on a Nettle

Hereford Square

A private square laid out by the builder of the houses that surround it, and still owned by the descendants of the original builder. A local committee controls the gardens and a recent decision was taken to ban dogs from the square.

Hereford Square

Hereford Square

Courtfield Gardens (East)

A sunken garden surrounding an old church with a nice mix of path ways around the upper ledges and a sunken area lawn and childrens playground. The bins asking people not to leave dirty nappies suggests a lot of local mummies use the place.

Courtfield Gardens (East)

Courtfield Gardens (East)

Courtfield Gardens (West)

A large lawn with planting around the edges is however soften by the massive plane tree in the centre – said to be over 200 years old. www.courtfieldgardens.net

Courtfield Gardens (West)

Bramham Gardens

Another large lawn, but with some lovely paths running around the edges that are in most areas blocked off from the lawn, creating green alleyways. A leaflet noted that the place has little wildlife compared to most gardens, although an owl takes up residence each autumn and delights residents with its hoots. The huge plane trees, some of the tallest in London make it difficult to grow flowering plants, but they do create a pond of cool air in the summer.

Bramham Gardens

Bramham Gardens

Earls Court Square

A small garden with some charming planting around the edges and a profusion of roses in a central seating area. A small jazz band was playing when I arrived, and there is a quite active local group who open the place up for summer events.

Earls Court Square

Nevern Square

Quite a bland space frankly, with a huge lawn and narrow path round the edges. Not a lot of charm at all, and looking rather municipal – but the locals seemed to be taking advantage of the wide space available. www.nevernsquaregarden.co.uk

Nevern Square

K+K Hotel George

After the blandness of the previous garden, this private space for hotel visitors was substantial difference. A lawn area which was decorated with works of art also offered a tiny hidden niche that was a pure delight to discover. The faces on the trees probably excite children, while the rainforest relic delivered a now mandatory dose of guilt to the jet-setting visitors. K+K Hotels

K+K George Hotel

K+K George Hotel

K+K George Hotel

The full set of photos can be found over at Flickr as usual.

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5 Comments

  1. Georgia

    Oh thank you so much for this blog – we would never have thought about going to Earl’s Court Square for Open Squares Weekend this year (2013) if we hadn’t found post.

    It’s quite a small space, mainly lawn and trees, not many flowers, but ideal for hanging out, having a picnic and sunbathing in since they are very happy for you to spent the entire day there. They had an old fashioned band which was a bit much, but after a few drinks in the hot sun it was easy to fall asleep. The entry cost is much cheaper than the tube fare to the park and they sell cheap refreshments if you run out of your own, so a great place to use next year if the weather is good again. One day I’ll have my own garden, but until then these Open Days are a great substitute!

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