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Richmond-upon-Thames Gardens Festival 2013

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by Sandra Lawson (subscribe)
To paraphrase Dorothy: 'There is no place like London.' I hope I can convince you of that here. Also check out my blog at and my theatre reviews at
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Enormous Riches to be Discovered in Richmond's Gardens
Richmond-upon-Thames has already sprung into bloom with a summer long season of events to celebrate its gardens. Some events are one offs, and others run for a longer period.

Richmond-upon-Thames Garden Festival 2013
Richmond Borough in Bloom Poster (image courtesy of

Richmond Borough in Bloom (itself a finalist in Britain in Bloom) is seeking entries for Merit Awards in various categories. These include hotels and business premises, pubs, residential frontages and front gardens. Entry forms can be sourced at local libraries or online. Other events allied to this include allotment open days at Bushy Park and Hertford Avenue Allotments, garden openings at East Sheen and Barnes (information is available at, Hampton Court Palace Flower Show in July and Richmond Gardeners' Question Time at the Museum of Richmond.

Until October Orleans House Gallery has landscaped a temporary garden in its grounds. Garden Installation Ode to Hestercombe has been designed to demonstrate how the past influences modern living with the aim of encouraging visitors to take a fresh look at their own gardens. If you would still like further inspiration, various gardens throughout the borough will be opening their gates as part of the National Gardens Scheme Open Gardens.

Richmond-upon-Thames Gardens Festival 2013
Ode to Hestercombe at Orleans House Gallery (Image Courtesy of the Orleans House Gallery Facebook Page)

Inside Orleans House Gallery there is an exhibition marking the changes in gardens over the last few centuries from formal to naturalistic. To demonstrate their arguments they are displaying works of art from the borough's own collection, as well as loans from private collections and National museums. Alongside this exhibition is Transforming Orleans House in Focus Display, an opportunity to learn about the history of the gardens from the early 1700s until the present day, as well as to view the plans for its future. Both of these displays run until 21 July.

The Isabella Gardeners will be on hand to offer free guided walks round the Isabella Plantation in Richmond Park from now until October. These are usually available three times per month. Other offerings in this royal park include an Arcadian Thames Walk to White Lodge on 8 June and 15 July and A Tour of Pembroke Lodge Gardens on 19 July.

Richmond-upon-Thames Gardens Festival 2013
Isabella Plantation, Richmond Park (Image Courtesy of

If for you the words 'gardens' and 'Richmond-upon-Thames' are synonymous with Kew Gardens, you can take advantage of free daily walking tours courtesy of Introduction to Kew. The walk includes a visit to a glasshouse, information about Kew's history and other seasonal particulars.

Formerly in the county of Surrey, but now part of Greater London, much of the borough still seems to belong more to the rural than the urban, especially with attractions of great beauty like Richmond Park, Kew Gardens, Richmond Terrace Gardens, Hampton Court, and of course the river Thames that winds its way from its source in Gloucestershire, eventually discharging itself into the sea at the Thames Estuary in Essex. If you haven't taken the time to acquaint yourself with Richmond-upon-Thames, I suggest you head for your car, or take a train from Waterloo or hop on the tube and find out what you're missing.

Richmond-upon-Thames Gardens Festival 2013
A View from Richmond Hill Over the Terrace Gardens (Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)
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Why? To enjoy the beauty of Richmond-upon-Thames
When: Until 3 November
Where: In and around Richmond-upon-Thames
Cost: Varies, but many events are free
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