the eastern England, I now passes London and return to the
16/6 The tour through London is way more
smooth than expected. I arrival at
KEW Botanical Gardens 45 minutes
before it opens. I find what appears to be a free parking right
outside - which must be an error. The garden is waste, but much is
kind of wild or arboretum. It is a umbrella and raincoat morning,
with black clouds all over - but nearly no rain.
I start with some of the outside beds and areas, and they are so
well maintained. The rockery is especially beautiful, with numerous
plants, huge boulders and five creeks with falls. The area with
systematic beds are huge, and I only see some of the families.
The artic house look like a ship upside down, but inside, it is
great, although a bit small. Next to it is the huge Princess of
Wales Conservatory, compiled by several houses with each their type
of plants or climate. The two orchid houses are clearly display, and
I find a gardener, and ask for the large orchid houses. He leads me
all the way, and find the gardener in charge of them. She and her
other orchid gardener spend hours with me, and I get a real good
feeling of how they deal with light, water, fertilizer, soil and so
on. I get names on their algae controller, the soil they are
using and so much more information.
It is a massive collection, divided into five
climate houses. Here
are some impressive specimens, some real rare, some flowering and
one is just huge; Grammatophyllum speciosum. They grow so many on
cork and in pots, only a minority is hanging.
While I'm there, I have a look at their huge Bromeliad and fern
collection, as well as their carnivorous plants, the succulents and
cacti and even a group of caudiciforms. Some I don't recall the name
But there are so much
else to see, and after four
hours, I rush through the rest. Well, the greenhouses and the most
interesting out-door collections and displays. The huge Victorian house
with tempered climate is covered in a tent - a real disappointment.
The palm house does not really look great from the outside, but
it is real neat kept, and here are many real beauties One of their
plants (Encephaalartos altensteinii) is in a pot - big one that is,
and it have been sitting in a pot since 1775.
Underneath the greenhouse, a aquarium display some aquatic plants -
along with fish, frogs and some quite turtles.
I head back to the Princess of Wales Conservatory, to see the cacti.
It is kind of disappointing after I have seen the non-public
collection. It is fare from as impressive as most of the other
collections, but it is well maintained.
Their master-visitor-magnet this year is the Hive, a gathering of
stainless steel tubes. Don't get it, sorry.
I make the long walk to the large lake, and pass the tent with the
huge greenhouse. Then the Mediterranean collection and The Queen's
Kitchen (-garden). She can't be much of a vegetarian! The Orangery is
just a restaurant, but the rockery is still impressive, especially
now, when the sun returns
for a few minutes.
It is five o'clock, and I'm a bit anxious about my car - and the
camp-side on the other side of London. The car is fine, and I get
through London quite smooth, only having to doing a round-about twice. The
campsite, on the other hand have specific parking and tent arias,
and you may not sleep on the car park. I'm in luck, and find another
one on the Thames side, which, after quite some talking, accept me.
20,40 pound and additional 3 for the internet, but it is London
after all, and the Thames is ten metres away - not that I'm going to
use it for anything.
I spend hours on the expensive and badly working
internet, to plan camp-sites for the last bit of the tour. Most of
these I can find online, don't have an address which I can find on
the GPS - or they simply don't have a address. Or they have the
road, but not the town. Some are trailer-parks, and they don't
accept me. Same goes with the Scout's.
Heavy thunder break the sound from the cascades on the Thames, and
the drizzle turns into fifty-fifty water and air. I'm so glad I'm in
the car! There are some general photos of Around
London. I sit and stir at the computer till after midnight,
but the uploading is just so slow, and I give up!
I'm up early to finish uploading, but
despite I spend three hours, I'm fare from finish. I could have done
it all in ten minutes at home. The main sight of today is The New
Glasshouses at RHS Wisley Garden, just ten minutes away.
At first, the garden is slightly disappointing, although the houses are
nice. Then I reach the glasshouse from 2007, and that is a real
treat. As the garden already
gave away, this is not a botanical collection, it is a gathering of
beautifully and vied plants.
The orchid tables right inside the door is a good example. All
pristine, all with huge and many flowers. Some botanical, some
hybrids. They clearly have a large nursery, somewhere in the back -
and I intend to see it. But first, the different climate zones
their special plants draws me in.
It seems to be laid out in the way some plants are static, other
areas are changing plants, just in their prime. I even see some
interesting caudiciforms I doubt I have seen before. Under the
plants, the basement have a display about roots, and it is actually
interesting. The rainforest have the right mist, the "desert" is
filled with nice specimens. But where do they make them?
I find the nursery, and have long talks with half of the six
gardeners, keeping both excerptions and production running. They
must work hard! They try to grow anything. The ones that really
works, will be repeated every year. Hybrids or natural does not
matter at all, just they are great looking. It must be kind of nice
I have spend way too much time talking, and I
figured, I do a breath look at the outdoor, before I leave. Then I
see the rockery on a huge hill, and it is fantastic! I keep walking
up and down, and despite the sun have a day off, I make so many
Several creeks run down between the many flowering and well pruned
plants, and here are species I have never seen before. An alley is
filled with real nice bonsais, worth several pictures. The kitchengarden - well, is a kitchengarden.
Then I stumble over the Alpine houses and the beds around them: WOW!
This is how it ought to look. Even the meter tall walls under the
glasses are overgrown on the outside. Huge walls/beds made up of massive sandstone
are filled with flowering plants. It is clear, the inside of the
houses are filled with the plants that just flowers now: They have
yet another big
nursery in the back.
The rose garden is, just like they use to be. The endless beds with
flowering plants are quite traditional too. The sun get through a
and I rush back to the rockery. It does look good in
sun too. Nearby is the "Wild Area", and here are wild orchids - I
think, and a lot of bushes and trees. I end up in a kind of formal
garden, and figured I might have see most.
I have always loved the Alpine displays, and this is the best so
fare. I have build up an urge to create a Japanese garden on this
tour - despite I have seen none, but I think it is going to be
Alpine - or a mix? If someone have a hill side, a lot of boulders
and a million, please call!
As I drive on, I get back to the narrow, hedge-lined roads and the tunnel feeling in the forests. The next on my
list is Down House and Garden. It is small, and does not sound like much. But
like the Church of Birth in Jerusalem, with the silver star in a
cellar room, and the Maya Devi Temple in Nepal with a rough boulder
in the cellar, this is a birthplace: The birthplace of Evolution.
Charles Darwin lived his entire adult life here, and this is where
he wrote On the Origin of Species. Upper floor is a rather
disappointing museum, ripped from any atmosphere, but with a lot of
information. Down stairs, on
the other hand, most rooms seem to be untouched. A self guided tour,
narrated by David Attenborough make the rooms come alive.
It continues in the large garden. It have been brought back, just
like Darwin left it.
"worm-stone" sinking into the lawn, the glasshouses with mainly
carnivorous plants and orchids he was so interested in and the
experimental beds are still here.
For a first, a film-crew have been aloud to make a documentary with
actors. I feel like I'm looking out the glasshouse on a ghost! They
have filmed in the back of the house, but it take more to keep me
out. In-between shoots, I explore.
I'm not aloud to make any photos inside, and when I return to
Darwin's office, a light-man and the conservator is there - along
with a lot of light. The reason one can't make photos is the fear of
blitz. The conservator leave breathily, but I get a good photo! I
was not sure I wanted to go here, but is have been almost a
spiritual experience to see the home, office and the many
experiments Darwin preformed in the glasshouse and garden.
It start to drizzle on the parkinglot, and soon,
it is cats & dogs. As a Range Rover in front of me dodges a pool
on the road, I figure I better do so too. The tiny roads leads me
through cosy villages with some houses, which have tiles half down the
walls. Other are more timber than stone. I try to avoid the "M-roads"
with their four lanes of parking in both directions, but the smaller ones
are congested too. A Spar on a gas station provides me with much
needed cash, food and dry tea.
I still haven't figures how the people, living in the countryside,
shops - unless they drive quite long.
I find the camp, and except the eight pound fee is fourteen
(weekend), it look all right. No internet, and I find the nearest
pub. And while I'm there, why not try their Roasted vegetables with
mushrooms, risotto and fresh parmesan and salad?
After that, I work my way thought the photos of the day.
18/6 The short route to the first sight of
leads pass several others. It runs through these southern England
real narrow roads and forest tunnels. The few openings reveal houses
with tiles half, or even all the way down. Some houses are the strange round
ones, with a big, white thing on the top. I got to find out what the
propose is (Hub-drying houses). A few times, horses and men - actually women, are a
obstacle on the roads, and I have to give them; they can't pull
over, into the hedges.
Mote House and Garden as they open. From what I have read, it is a
relatively small house with a garden. I was in doubt, if I should
add it to the list or not, but I did. And I'm in for a treat. A big
part of it was build in 1320, the rest around 1500. It sits in a
and only the upper floor is with framed walls. It seems like
it is made up by an entire village, crammed into the small lake. Inside, a medieval great hall
and crypt, a Victorian Billiard room, the kitchen, bedrooms is
different styles, library, chapel, solar rooms (to be alone), dressing rooms and a
from the early 1900, along with everything in-between.
It does not look that big from the outside, but it sure does inside.
The rooms are not huge, not even the great hall, but many have high
to the sealing, and here are so many rooms.
A loop around the garden around the house is fantastic. The motives
the moat, the ancient walls and the numerous
flowering plants create
is endless. Besides from the formal garden, here are a stumpery, a
secret garden, several square ponds, a cutting garden, a herbaceous
border, a pleasure ground, birch bank, some lakes, huge trees and a fernery.
The herbaceous border is recreated after a photo from 1880, which clearly
show which and where the species should grow. Here was a watermill
from 1300-ish to 1700-ish, and the mill dam is still here.
I start on the inside, but have to abort because
of the talk about the house and owners. Despite the size of the
house, it is real important men, who have owed it.
the stables had room for 60-100 horses. Everyone rebuild it a bit
after their needs and desires, but most have been restored to its
original state. The last owner was an American, and a few of his
room are as he left them in the 50'ties. On one wall, a painting of
the house, made by Winston Churchill is found. The National Trust spend
10.000.000 pound, when they took over the manor, and I guess it still take
some maintenance. But as one of the guides tell, it is the newer
things that tend to break down.
Five minutes after that talk, another brilliant volunteer from the
trust conduct a garden walk. A tour around the mill pond, then the
rest of the gardens. Stories, explanations, Latin names and a lot
of humour. Ponds have been dug and abandon. The
first was for fish
breading for Friday dinners, and they needed three ponds, as the fish
they kept tend to eat anything smaller than them self. Trees have
been planted and some are gone again. Some are at least 400 years
old, others are new, replacing the ancient ones of the same species.
One corner have huge box-trees, the remains of a lone-gone formal
garden. They have fruits, which I have never seen before.
In the fare back, they have recently build a natural cleaning pond
for all the wastewater, and it is odourless by now. Further more,
the water leaving it is drinkable - they say.
from that great tour, I continue the tour around the house on
my own. The carvings in the ancient oak, the heavy furniture - was
it all like this, or did the light ones not make it through time?
The wooden arched in the sealing, lead-framed windows, fireplaces,
chapels colourful windows, a true Victorian Cross, the tapestry, the
staircases and the crooked walls. On one staircase, an typical
Saracen's Head in build in. You were only aloud to have one of
these, if you have taken part of the crusades. Where the other
castles and alike have been humanly cold, this is a house to live in
- in the warm summer days. It is said to be immense cold at winter.
Despite the sun newer joined in,
it have been a great experience to
be here, and I'm so glad I have seen it.
It is passed two, and I'm in a hurry to go to
Emmetts Garden - I even skip tea! It is a Edwardian estate that was owned by the
plant collector Frederic Lubbock. The garden was created in the late
19th century, when plant collection in distant countries peaked. He
was especially attracted to Alpine plants, and I look forward to
The first a visitor meet, is the small, fenced rockery. A path is
kind of dug down in the middle of it, and a small pond sits in the
middle. Next to it is a small, formal
rose garden, with quite some
lawns. Then a shrubbery, with some flowering bushes. Apparently,
this is the centre piece with the rare plants. I recognises the Corthnus
kousa with its white leaves and some Rhododendrons, but I must
confess; bushes have never really been me. The map give
impression of a waste garden, but it is tiny, and besides from the
first rockery," I am not amused".
Too late to another site, too early for camp. I
drive into the big TunBridge Well to do a bit of shopping. The magnet
holding the GPS have gone loose, and I need a flexible glue. I do
the pedestrian main street and one huge shopping centre along with a
few other streets. I find the glue and food, but I don't find the
On the way back to last nights camp,
I see a sign for another one.
It is significantly more posh - anything but a ploughed field would
do that, and I give it a try. No sleeping in the
car! I politely ask him to explain why. At first he say it is a way
to control who he get in. I ask if he can't see that, or if idiots
can't buy a tent. Then he tells me, homeless people turns up, and
want to sleep in their car. Considering he claims twice the amount of what a
tent cost, I still don't get it. At least, I talked my self in,
which is a bit of a bummer, as it is rather expensive. Additional
two pound for internet, which turns out to be useless. In the
future, I rather spend two pound on a pot of tea at a pub, and use
their great connection for free.
Considering this will be the last week on
tour, it continues on Dairy 11