Tag Archives: Gardens

Hampstead Heath – London, UK

81725347(above photo © Laura Nolte)

Hampstead Heath

(44)  0208 – 45 8 9102
(44)  0207  – 332 3322


Tube:  Kentish Town,  Hampstead, Golders Green

“The Heath” sprawls across 320 hectares (791 acres) of Camden and Barnet.  Encompassing ancient woodlands, wildflower meadows, towering trees, running streams and over 30 lakes and ponds.  Full of over 300 species of fungi, the best place in London to see various species of kingfishers, red warblers, British woodpeckers, dragonflies and bats!  There are at  least 55  artifacts, monuments and archaeological sites including The Saxon ditch (AD986),

Hampstead Heath is also a consistent winner of  a Green Flag Award which sets the “the national standard for parks and green spaces in the United Kingdom.”  Its miles of walking paths, cycling lanes, forest tracks and rambling meadows Hampstead Heath exudes pastoral bliss. An inspiration to many a great artist: John Constable (romantic painter),  John Keats (poet), CS Lewis (novelist, academic, theologian…), John Atkinson Grimshaw (painter), Percy Bysshe Shelley (romantic poet), Lord Byron (poet), Leigh Hunt (writer),

On the personal side, we spent one stunning spring Sunday lost in the Heath. In a city park experience like no other I’ve ever had.   We picked up a picnic lunch in Highgate and wandered into the green.  We soon lost ourselves among the trees around t 1pm on a warm may Sunday – a time when any park in our hometown of New York City is packed to the hilt with people.  We soon found a secluded spot in a forested glen and we lunched.  We DID NOT SEE ANOTHER PERSON for over 30 minutes!!! Our solitude was gently eased when a lovely woman wandered through- searching for elderflower, for her elderflower wine …

Hampstead heath is a piece of the old world left untouched, where fairies play and people can once again be a part of nature.  So swim in its ponds and walk in every direction to find beauty in its overabundant flora and flora; delight in its wonder and realize what a park can truly be.

h1-- (above photo ©  Barbara Rich)
h132--(above photo ©  Barbara Rich)
h1322--(above photo ©  Barbara Rich)

Hampstead Heath

“The Highgate Ponds” total eight original water reservoirs from the 17th and 18th centuries. Here are the mens and ladies bathing ponds, the model boating pond, and a fishing lake.

232401145(above photo © Tony Hall) Early Morning, Highgate Men’s Bathing Pond
226366703(above photo © Tony Hall) Early Morning, Highgate Men’s Bathing Pond

Here we find the “Hampstead Ponds”, which  began life as a string of reservoirs of the Hampstead Water Co.; established to supply London in 1692 by damming Hampstead brook. Here you can find the mixed gender swim pond (note: for all the swiming ponds you can buy a day, season or anual ticket).

228284754(above photo © Tony Hall) Path  between Cohen’s Fields and Stock Pond

On the southern slopes of Parliament Hill sit various sporting facilities including an athletics track, tennis courts, an open air swimming pool, running track and various fitness areas.  The hill is 321 feet (98 m) high home to kite flyers and great views of the London skyline.  Keep a lookout for ‘The Stone of Free Speech‘ which dates from the late 17th century

Screen(above photo © Sophie Atkinson)

Closed by night, Golders Hill Park contains a small zoo, tennis courts, lovely floral displays, a duck pond, water garden, and a separated area for deer.

1800431741(above photo © Carlos Baez) The pergola at Hill House Garden

The northern border of the Heath abuts Kenwood House (Iveagh Bequest); a 17th century stately home.  Residing here still is the original art collection of Lord Iveagh; including a Rembrandt self-portrait, Van Dyck , Vermeer, William Turner…. Hopefully you are at a time to enjoy a  Lakeside Concert on the property’s grounds.

Screen8(above photo © Sophie Atkinson) Kenwood House
Scree7(above photo © Sophie Atkinson) Kenwood House
226700(above photo © Tony Hall) Wood Pond at Kenwood
2209323(above photo © Laura Nolte)

The Wildlife Park at Cricket St Thomas – Chard Somerset, UK

The Wildlife Park at Cricket St Thomas

The Wildlife Park at Cricket St Thomas

(44) 14 – 603 0111
TA20 4DB
United Kingdom


The Cricket St Thomas manor house ( a hotel since 1999) was built in 1820 by Sir John Soane.  The grounds of the house were originally  designed by  legendary Landscape Architect Capability Brown.   Now these rolling gardens are home to a lovely 46-acre Wildlife Park.
During the 1980’s the facade of the house served as set  in the popular sitcom “To The Manor Morn“.

A lovely little find in the countryside, the Wildlife Park at Cricket St Thomas is home to many stunning animals set in the English green.  It has the feel of a private bestiary – which in a way it is.  It’s small scale lends an intimacy with the animals that is often missed at larger zoos.  For instance on a small path while walking very slowly, we came upon a family of marmosets.  These funny little primates were free roaming and immensely curious.  With patience, I was able to coax one onto my hand, arm and then shoulder! – though it all went askew when one of the many children in the park noticed 😉

Quite an enjoyable location for any animal or nature lover.

The Wildlife Park at Cricket St ThomasCheetah
The Wildlife Park at Cricket St ThomasBrazilian Tapir
The Wildlife Park at Cricket St ThomasCommon Marmoset
The Wildlife Park at Cricket St Thomas
St-Thomas-Wildlife-0(above photo) American flamingo by Antony Scott

Here one finds many different species, including:

Red-fronted lemur
White-fronted lemur
Black & white ruffed lemur
Red-bellied lemur

Colombian spider monkey
Amur leopard
Sulawesi crested macaque
Bush dog
Scimitar-horned oryx

Waldrapp ibis
Southern ground hornbill
Moluccan cockatoo
Lesser vasa parrot

Bali starling

St-Thomas-Wildlife-01 (above  left  photo) Ostrich by Andy & Becky
St-Thomas-Wildlife-059Cotton-Top Tamarin
St-Thomas-Wildlife-051Yellow Mongoose

New York Botanical Garden

Spring 03

The New York Botanical Garden

General Info: 718.817.8700
Directions:   718.817.8779
2694 Dr Theodore Kazimiroff Blvd
Bronx, NY 10458-5126


10:00am – 6:00pm Tuesday – Sunday

With the most elaborate exhibitions classes from horticulture, botanical illustration, gardening,  landscape design, Ikebana….




the legendary orchid show each February,  the cherry blossoms and  magnolia trees in bloom every April, and art installations May though November.  We truly believe this is the best thing in New York City.

These past years, installations have included Chihuly Glass in 2006, the dynamic sculptures of Henry Moore in 2008, Kiku – the art of the Japanese chrysanthemum this last October and luckily coming up again in November 2008.

Take the time and the train out of Grand Central to the Botanical Garden station for 40 acres of true old-growth forest and the most natural feeling locale in the 5 boroughs!





Orchids March 2006 - 32


Orchids March 2006 - 56








Fall 2007 NYBG 059



Chihuly 067