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Diary 2017 March

 

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2 March

 
Today we went to Upminster on the edge of north east London. This is the park where we had our sandwiches, sitting under the trees on the right. It was a bit breezy, but the sun came out a few times briefly and lit up all the spring flowers.


We went past Upminster Windmill on the bus. It is being restored to working order and will be finished in 2018, but the Visitor Centre will be open some time this spring, so we will be going to see that. The cap was removed last year and is now in Holland being restored by a Dutch millwright.

www.upminsterwindmill.org and they have some Youtubes of the cap and roof parts being taken off in May 2016.

4 March


We had a day out at Chiswick Gardens in West London.

 
This cascade is spectacularly noisy, and it goes under the path and out into the long lake.


Next to the lake is Chiswick House.

 
Next to the Italianate garden is this long glasshouse, where there are lots of camellias planted into the ground. There were also pots of daffodils and other spring flowers to provide some colours other than red and pink.

 
I think these camellias have been there a long time. Halfway down the glasshouse is this mosaic made of pebbles set into mortar and at the end is a shop where you can buy small camellias in pots.


These are all the colours of camellias, as well as the deep red.


Next to the glass house is a small topiary version of Sadi the Indian Elephant who lived here from 1807 to 1828. The bush is quite small, not elephant sized. He was shipped here from India as a gift but I find that very saddening, as elephants are social family animals.

 
There are lots of paths to walk around. This is the amphitheatre, with a pond in front to reflect the building.


This is the Classic Bridge.

 
The Egyptian Duck had some chicks running around nibbling the grass.

 
A "classic" seat, a good use for an old bit of masonry. I wonder if this is from when parts of the house were demolished. There are two sphinxes, one on each side of the gateway.


On the train journey home, I saw these wonderful daffodils on Barnes Station.

 
Back at Waterloo, this model hawk sits on top of one of the tea shops that is on the upper floor, to deter pigeons. I don't think it is working very well, but maybe there are fewer pigeons at least.

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7 March


I have painted the bright yellow nest box with dark green fence paint and put it in this dense greenery that is against the fence. I hope it gets occupied and used this year by the bluetits.

 
II have made a straw pillow raft to keep the fish away from the frogspawn. The frogs don't seem very much impressed!


I managed to get some great close-up photos of inside the crocus flowers. Quite often the camera won't focus but it behaved this time.

9 March

 
Woody has had a brief soak and is wondering when lunch will be served. At last, we have some collared doves again, I hope they come nearer and onto the birdbath on the lawn.

10 March

 
This is a do-it-yourself garden obelisk. It was quite easy to put together but I had some help tightening the screws. Then I painted it with the green fence paint, so that it blends in.

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11 March


 
We went to Victoria Coach Station for a Celebration Day with vintage coaches and buses. There is not much spare room at the station, as it is very busy all the time, so the old buses were squeezed into a corner.                                    

 
There were lots of enthusiasts ticking them off their list and taking photos, so we had to keep an eye open for people aiming cameras and not get in the way.

 
I like this double decker ice cream coloured bus, the seats are very comfortable and smart.

 
It has a net luggage rack and bell pushes on the ceiling.

 
At the back is an area for luggage, as it was a touring or longer distance bus. The stairs have a convex mirror so you can see if anyone is coming up.

 
This is a different coach, and even the driver's seat is red floral, with smart red steering wheel.

 
Art Deco clock and lights.

 
This is the mechanical indicator arm, and you can see an electric indicator light has been fitted later. It was interesting to see all the different patterns of the velour upholstery materials.

 
Then we went to St James's Park. These contraptions are to stop big vehicles from forcing their way into the historical area around Buckingham Palace. The park is full of daffodils and crocuses.

 
A wonderful sight.

 
This is Buckingham Palace with nothing at all happening, all was quiet.

 
Lots of people were taking photos of each other in front of the gates. Even the bollards have Elizabeth Regina II on them.

 
People have saved up their money and flown from all over the world for this special day to see the Palace, but we did not fly here, it was just another day trip for us!

 
We then went into Green Park. We worked out (from a zoomed in photo) that these really are gas mantle lights, which is quite an amazing survival of an old system.


Green Park is also full of daffodils. Lots of crowds again, but you can't expect anything else in Central London unless you come on cold rainy day.

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13 March

 
At last the miniature daffodils are out, growing through the chicken wire that we put round to stop squirrels digging in the pot. I am glad to say I successfully removed the wire without damaging the flowers. This is the end of the pond where the frogs lay their eggs. I have put down an old piece of broken curved pot as a hiding place for them.

 
Today we went to Battersea which is on the south side of the river Thames. I really like this tall "settle" seat on Battersea station, it must really keep the draughts off, and wood is much warmer to sit on than the usual metal seats. Lots of interesting old ironwork as well, nicely painted and not left to rust.

 
This is the entrance to Battersea Station, really smart and special looking. Outside the station is the old Victorian railway bridge.

 
This is the entrance to Battersea Park. Big gates usually mean a well kept park. There is a big lake with a large central island for the water birds.

 
To one side is this war memorial inside a circular hedge. The soldiers have successfully trodden on the enemy snake at their feet.

 
I just love old bandstands, and this one is very smart in green and red. It would be even better with a band in it, but I don't think much happens here now.


On the far side of the park is the ornamental fountain lake, all empty and being cleaned out ready for the summer. Last year when we came we saw the fountains shooting in the air and making different patterns, but you have to be there at the right time to catch it all happening.

 
This path has rows of giant pointed stones along each side, like lots of dinosaur teeth. Dino will be delighted when I show him the pictures. More of my favourite things, smart box hedging with wallflowers between, but not yet in flower.

 
We heard some very noisy ring neck parakeets in the trees. This robin was quite bold and came out from under the park bench.

 
The north side of the park is right alongside the river Thames, so we sat here and had our sandwiches. On the way home, we saw lots of building work everywhere. I like this one, it looks like the Thames sparkling on a sunny day.

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14 March

 
A visit to the garden centre. We always like to go and see the fish tanks and the big Koi tank that has a window in the side. You can buy a cupful of food pellets and feed the fish through the netting.

16 March

 
Today we got going on making some trellises. The wood was painted and spread out on a tarpaulin on the lawn to dry. Then lots of banging in of all the small nails to make it up. If you make your own, you can get the spacing just right to provide more privacy!

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21 March

 
Today we went to Hall Place Gardens to see the daffodil meadow. It is my favourite place in the spring. This is the first really sunny warm day and I was hoping I had not missed the show. But it was all in bloom and just as I had hoped.

 
The windy weather has seen off this old tree, although it did not really look old or brittle. Brown Teddy noticed that it has fallen on another tree, which although it was also down, was continuing to flower in pink.

 
Here is the half-fallen tree in full flower, and it did at least mean we got a really close-up view of the flowers. This is the heather garden in every shade of pink. In the summer it will be just another lot of green and not worth another photo.

 
I am glad they have put barriers around the topiary. The notices asking people not to tread round them obviously did not work. The ground gets compacted and the hedges could die. Before we left, we noticed these bat boxes high up in the taller trees.

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25 March

 
This is Well Hall Pleasaunce. It has a small moat and lots of different areas to the gardens.

 
The moat has a new fountain, I wonder if that will keep the duckweed away, as each year it has been choking the moat. These pigeons have their favourite little pile of rocks from which to dip into the moat for a drink.

 
More daffodils, but on quite a small scale compared with Hall Place. Brown Teddy likes the white daffodils, or ones with coloured middles.

 
What a wonderful place to have a park bench. I like this secret area round the back, with green tunnels and rocky places.

 
This is the wisteria pergola and the winding stems have smothered and broken the pillar. Just beyond is a really brilliant display of primulas.


Another favourite of mine is this small Japanese garden, with mossy rocks rising up. There are little channels for water and a small pond, but I have never seen the channels flowing down.

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27 March

 
Today we went to Dartford Central Park. By the war memorial are some seats with images of soldiers, poppies and a white dove.

 
This big stone "bath" is next to the Library. The bedding was very bright, mostly primulas and forget-me-nots.

 
Onour way home, we went into Danson Park in Welling. More blossom trees, and this second picture is clematis montana which is a very strong grower that can cover large areas. The flowers are strongly scented.


This pigeon was lounging about under the bench, so we gave him quite a bit of our snack bread. The crows started to look interested.


The pigeon had all he wanted and then the crows moved in. When we walked away, they all crowded in to clear up all the crumbs.

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28 March


This is Church House Gardens behind Bromley High  Street. It goes down very steeply with a lake at the bottom.

 
On one side of the lake is a large amphitheatre. The stage part is on the other side of the lake. The second photo is the steep slope up the side, with shady trees and lots of steps.

 
At the top there is a parapet and a big shelter with seats. This magnificent magnolia was in full display in the sunshine.

   
The camellia plants were doing very well in the shade. They remind me of the paper Christmas decorations that you can unfold.

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