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ENGLAND     DIARY 10   2016   

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 Diary 1+2+3+4+5+6+7+8+9+10


From the eastern England, I now passes London and return to the south-east.

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 Arctic 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 for display (not growing), 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. I even get to see some of the orchids I send them from Copenhagen Botanical Garden.
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 on.

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 inside, 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, despite the 3 pound spend on it!

17/6 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 vierd 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 and 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 and easy that way.

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 photos.
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 breath moment, 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. The "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 being 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 the day, 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.
I reach Ightham 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 moat, 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 office 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. And 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 claim.
Back 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 this.
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 city appealing.
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

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