I have a few stray pictures from London that I thought some of you might enjoy...
After leaving the phenomenal Hortus Conclusus, I wandered in a daze in a westerly direction through Kensington Gardens, which is, I guess, the west half of Hyde Park. The two together make up London's biggest greenspace, analagous to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco or Central Park in Manhattan.
I wasn't looking for anything in particular or heading to any destination. I figured I would walk until I got tired and then look for a tube station. (One bit of advice about using the tube: if a station has both stairs and an elevator or escalator to the train platform, take the elevator or escalator. I made the mistake of using the stairs at the Goodge Street station--because that's what I do in San Francisco--and I thought they would never end. According to the wiki, the Goodge St. stairwell has "over 800 risers"!)
Aaanyway...back to Kensington Gardens. There are gardens!
And there is a palace, with more gardens!
Further along, I came upon a section of field that had been fenced off as part of a study designed to rehabilitate London's house sparrow population. Apparently, it is declining...because they all moved to America, right? Surely my birdbath services more house sparrows than any other species of bird. A blue jay visits more often, but I think it is the same blue jay who comes all the time. He's grown completely indifferent to my presence in the garden.
You can read a close-up of that sign here. Basically it says they're trying different grasses and wildflowers to see which are most beneficial for house sparrows.
You know I'm always interested in things like that, so there you go.
Later, I went looking for some smaller gardens in other parts of London. Specifically, I wanted to see St. Dunstan-in-the-East, the bombed-out ruins of an Anglican church that is now a garden in the City of London (the oldest part of London). It won some awards after it opened and don't those pictures at the link look fabulous? Well, I couldn't find it. Looking at the map, I cannot figure out how I missed it. I must have walked right by at least three times and, typical male, it didn't even occur to me to ask someone for directions.
So I think it's quite remarkable that I found another, far more obscure garden several blocks away hidden around the corner from the Temple Church, which itself is hidden from the street by long, narrow passageway that I have no clue why I even walked down in the first place. I'd certainly never heard of the Temple Church before, built by the Knights Templar in the 12th century. (The Knights Templar--they have something to do with The Da Vinci Code, right?)
Anyway, take that little passageway there on Fleet Street to the Temple Church, go past the church and turn right. You'll find a very small, very lovely Mediterranean gravel garden, planted with mulleins, verbena and some conifer.
After taking in the scene, I sat on a bench and read tweets and played Words With Friends for several minutes while I waited for a man on a bench to finish his lunch and leave before I took out my camera for pictures. I put it away again as soon as some other people came in. So I only got three pictures.
On the subject of Mediterranean gravel gardens, come back soon. I have pictures of Rome.