Let's Go! Portsmouth and London

I literally have no good spring garden photos yet because, well, it's still winter around here. As I eagerly await the inevitable explosion of green in my own garden, I look to some plant moments from our trip to England this past autumn to quench my thirst. Neither Portsmouth nor London (save for Kew) were particularly plant-related destinations for me, but as I travel I try to keep my eyes peeled when I come across something interesting. While this is not a serious botanical post, it is a fun jaunt through Portsmouth, on the southern coast of England, and London.

We had a quick overnight in Portsmouth. After we settled into our B&B we took a walk to the water, looking for lunch. As it was getting late in the day we didn't linger, but I did manage to catch a few shots of this unexpected garden, the Southsea Rock Garden right on the waterfront.

I could find little information about this garden other than it was created after WWI as a way to provide work for citizens and to get in on the latest craze, i.e., botanical gardens.

Today, it is tended to by a group of dedicated volunteers. It truly is a breath of fresh air, being right next to the ocean in a town with many apartments and college students, people who likely wouldn't have their own gardens to enjoy.

There were many drought-tolerant plants such as the yuccas pictured here.

Hard to tell from the photo, but this could be an Arbutus unedo or strawberry tree.

A lovely pond in the center of it all.

Many drought tolerant plants. I wonder if water is limited, as I did notice a couple of dead trees. They could have gone for many reasons, however. Hard to tell. They did not distract from the overall loveliness of the gardens.

Parts of it felt fairly sheltered, so a nice place to come and have lunch or read a book I would imagine.

I saw this everywhere in England, actually. Ceratostigma plumbaginoides looking wonderful. And abundant.

A sunny pollinator garden.

I imagine this must be a really mild climate along the southern coast.

A little walk down the path from the garden we encountered these trees leaning heavily to the right. I wonder which way does the wind blow?

And these leaning to the left. What the corn? 

Portsmouth's city symbol that I am quite fond of.

Portsmouth is an historic town, home of the British Navy and the HMS Victory, Nelson's warship from 1805 (The Battle of Trafalgar). It also has a charming harbor with several swell pubs along the way.

And there she is, the HMS Victory! Still a commissioned warship. Too bad all of the sails and necessary spars and rigging are no longer in place. Must have been a heck of a sight to see this ship under sail. Facilities Manager charmed a gate-guard to let us in the naval yard after closing time. 

While I don't know the name of this lovely vessel, which was nearby, the evening sky was lovely this evening and showed her off well.

Oh, and we spied this restaurant. Did we eat here? Um, no.

Moving on to London, actually just outside of London, in Greenwich. This view is from the climb up to the Royal Observatory and the Greenwich Meridian Line. The meridian is where all the time zones in the world begin, it's the starting point. Greenwich Mean Time! By the way, it was in Greenwich that Henry VIII, Queen Mary and Elizabeth I were born.  

The Cutty Sark lives in Greenwich; it's the last of the great clipper ships. It's now a museum. In front is a wildflower meadow.

A planting of Nassella tenuissima or Mexican feather grass on a breezy day along the Thames.

There is a museum in Greenwich, the National Maritime Museum which we visited with much interest. Adjacent to the museum is this palace, the Queen's House (which we did not visit) with a lovely mixed border along its perimeter. This is the first neo-classical building in Britain and was designed by Inigo Jones, completed in 1637. 

Moving on to London. I encountered several living walls throughout the city, but I was only able to photograph a couple. They are outstanding examples and add so much character to the neighborhoods they inhabit.

Detail of the green wall.

The parks in London are also spectacular. This is an open green space lined with allĂ©es of trees next to Buckingham Palace.

One of many gorgeous trees in a park next to our bed and breakfast. 

Open, wild spaces in the heart of London in the form of a meadow.

And Covent Garden had lovely flower boxes all about.

Lastly, another fine example of a green wall. This is also in the Covent Garden neighborhood and shopping area. 

I don't know how sustainable or difficult this might be to create, but as an observer I must say they seem worth whatever expense and time went into planning and creating them.

There you have it, a brief but green look at a few random locales in England. I for one enjoyed looking at greenery and sunnier days, and photos of travels while not the same as looking at one's own garden, fill my spirit with happiness. I hope you find some, too, this week.

That's a wrap for this week at Chickadee Gardens! Thank you so much for reading and commenting, we love hearing from you all! Happy gardening and here's to spring, just around the corner.


  1. I thoroughly enjoyed your trip down memory lane. Those wall gardens are impressive and looked to be in better shape than most I have seen. I love that little flower cart in one of the pictures. I liked seeing the tall ships too. A fun outing. I would have had trouble eating at the SLUG and LETTUCE too. Doesn't sound very appetizing.

    1. Yay! I'm glad you enjoyed it. It was a fun trip, England has a lot to offer!

  2. The Southsea Rock Garden was expertly maintained. I love that first living wall, which is so much more lush and complex than those I usually see. It's also wonderful to see a meadow in the middle of a city - regrettably, that's not something you'd find in Los Angeles.

    1. Isn't it cool? (the Southsea Rock Garden) Such a surprise, too. That first living wall made me swoon, for sure. And the meadow was also a huge surprise. Lots of garden-worthy sites in England!

  3. Anonymous4:08 PM PDT

    Good job of keeping your eyes peeled and bringing back the kind of travelogue that stirs a gardener's heart.

    1. Aw, thank you Rickii! We the gardeners are alike in so many ways :)

  4. That first green wall is absolute perfection!

    1. Wasn't it the best? Thanks for reading and commenting, SoundGardener!

  5. Anonymous12:13 AM PDT

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