A London Floral

An illustrated guide – Unmissable destinations for flower lovers

Natasha Goodfellow collects beautiful places – specifically those with interesting plant collections. Working all over London as a freelance journalist, she keeps an eye out for little havens of plant perfection, from parks and gardens, to quirky florists, to trendy botanical cocktail bars in bijou locations.

In 2020, just as Londoners were rediscovering of the benefits of the daily constitutional, she published a guide to all her favourite places – 87 of them all over London, from the traditional and obvious:

St James’s Park SW 1A

‘Stretching between the right royal flower beds outside Buckingham Palace and the eye-popping planting by Horse Guards Parade, St James’ Park is heaven for a stroll’

To the relatively new and undiscovered:

Midnight Apothecary at the Brunel Museum, Railway Avenue SE 16

‘On Friday and Saturday evenings in summer, this circular garden crowning Brunel’s groundbreaking (literally) tunnel shaft has to be one of the nicest places to be. Delicious cocktails use ingredients from the garden – sage, mint, blackberries, lemon verbena – and marshmallows are on hand for toasting over the brazier. The tours of the shaft are not to be missed’.

From public loos to royal palaces

What a fabulous way to see London! The guide comes as a fold up map with a paragraph of text about each place on the back.

The map itself is beautifully designed and illustrated by collage artist Clover Robin. Clover studied Surface Pattern Design at Leeds College of Art and Design before completing a Masters in Future Textile Design at Central Saint Martins.

Her style involves ‘tactile artwork created by hand, using a mixture of cut paper collage, painting, printing and hand drawing’ and her clients include Paul Smith, Mollie Makes, The National Trust and several publishers, including Little Tiger Books, Bloomsbury, Quarto Books and Macmillan.

Her fresh, bright illustrations make map a versatile gift which you can hang on the wall as a poster or keep in your bag for those occasions when you have a bit of time to kill and are up for discovering one of London’s little pockets of natural beauty.

There are 22 locations listed for West London, from the restaurant / plant / homeware emporium that is Petersham Nurseries TW10 to Nikki Tibbles’ flower shop in Turquoise Island (a public loo) Wild at Heart, 222 Westbourne Grove W11.

Image above: Chiswick House, copyright Clover Robin

The three places listed that are nearest to us in Chiswick are:

Chiswick House and Gardens, Burlington Lane W4

With its naturalised canal, rustic cascade and wooded wilderness areas, Chiswick House garden was the birthplace of the English Landscape Movement. It’s also home to some fine Italianate gardens, and, in the Grade-I listed glasshouse,a world-famous camellia collection, including the rare ‘Middlemist’s Red’.

Image above: Fulham Palace, copyright Clover Robin

Fulham Palace, Bishop’s Ave SW6                              

We have plant-loving Bishop Compton (1632-1713) to thank for Fulham Palace Garden’s reputation as one of London’s oldest botanic gardens. Now, a restoration has reinstated many of Compton’s exotic plants and there’s also a walled garden with an apple tunnel skirted in lavender, and a charming knot garden filled with perennials.

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew TW9 (£)

No flower lover can visit London without a trip to Kew, which has something for horticulturalists of every persuasion, from a rhododendron dell and bluebell glades to conservatories, rockeries and gardens housing plants from almost every climate of the world. Pack a picnic and stay for the day – you’ll need it. Lovers of botanical art should make time for the Marianne North and Shirley Sherwood galleries, too.

Where to get a copy

A London Floral (Finch Publishing, £8.50) is available from www.finchpublishing.co.uk

You can also pick up a copy from Bookcase London, 268 Chiswick High Rd, W4 1PD

Copyright © Finch Publishing

Words © Natasha Goodfellow

Illustration © Clover Robin

Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar

See also: 300 years of Chiswick House Gardens

See also: Chiswick Flower Market

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