St. James’s Palace

Another garden scene from my day of walking around London last week. . .

This meadow-style planting is outside the walls of St. James’s Palace, along The Mall. The strip of ground outside the walls around Buckingham Palace (at least on the north side) is planted in the same way.

In addition to Queen Anne’s lace (Daucus carota), there were some very dark red-purple tulips and pale blue Camassia.

Looking back toward Buckingham Palace.

“Lighting the Square”

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I had the opportunity to make a quick trip to London (and Cambridge) last week. Walking through Belgravia, I passed under this installation of 70 pendant lights hung in the trees around Orange Square for London Craft Week.

The lights were made in the Cornish workshop of Tom Raffield. The craftsmen used “sustainably sourced, British hardwood species similar to the trees found in this square,” according to a nearby sign.

Clement’s Inn, London

pankhursts-on-roof-garden1908-lse-libraryChristabel and Emmeline Pankhurst on the roof at Clement’s Inn, London, October 1908, via LSE (London School of Economics) Library Commons on flickr. A note on the back of the photo says that they were hiding* from the police.

At the time of the photo, numbers 3 and 4 Clement’s Inn† housed the offices of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), which Emmeline had founded in 1903. The organization was an all-female group campaigning for women’s suffrage and was known for its physical confrontations with police, hunger strikes, and arson. Christabel was Emmeline’s oldest daughter and eventually took over leadership of the group.  At the outbreak of WWI, both women called for a halt to WSPU militant activities in support of the war effort and became involved in the “white feather” movement, handing out the traditional symbol of cowardice to men in civilian clothes.

There’s an interesting history of the Pankhurst women (there were two more daughters, Sylvia and Adela) here.

* A warrant had been issued for their arrest.  After the photo was taken, they went down to the street and were arrested.

†Located about here. The Clement’s Inn buildings, built in the 1880s, were five to seven stories high and housed both offices and apartments.  They were all demolished by 1977. The photo above was taken from the roof garden of the apartment of another WSPU member.

Leicester Square

In London, in September, we went to TKTS at Leicester Square to buy discounted theater tickets.*

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While there, I really admired this sinuous bench/hedge/fence combination, which enclosed the central garden areas of the square — particularly the use of highly polished steel for the railings.

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The square was recently re-designed by Burns+Nice, with the installation completed in May of this year.

*We saw “Yes, Prime Minister,” which probably ought to have remained a half-hour sitcom, but was a lot of fun nevertheless.

A little more Bloomsbury

I didn’t make it to the Kew Royal Botanic Gardens on this trip*, but the British Museum was (and is, til November 25th) holding an exhibit, “North American Landscape: Kew at the British Museum” on its West Lawn. Admission is free.

The website, here, has a video of the installation and a slideshow of the plants featured.

I loved these flower finials atop a rather stately iron gate on Montague Street, not far from the British Museum.

Looking on Google’s satellite image for the street, the gates seem to be the entrance to a large shared garden on the inside of the entire block.

*and here and here.