I've always dreamed of seeing the Chelsea Flower Show and yesterday flew out of Pittsburgh on my way to London. I'm hosting a guided tour of the gardens of London with the help of John Cunningham from Collette Travel. There are 24 of us visiting the gardens.
There's been no sleep for a day or two as we landed at 6 a.m. this morning (local time). London is five hours ahead of Pittsburgh.
There was nothing scheduled for today, but I had to get out and see the city. Tomorrow we'll start to look in earnest at all the gardens. Tuesday is a visit to the 100th anniversary of the Chelsea Flower Show, and we have special access, too.
Five people joined me to poke around and see the sites. The rest explored on their own or might have even slept a little. In my opinion, it's always best to try and stay up the first day when changing time zones. It's exhausting, but tomorrow our bodies will begin to revert to London time.
After riding the subway (Tube) the wrong way a couple times, we finally found our way to the Tower of London.
It's evident at every turn the passion the English have for their gardens. Every home and each public space flourishes with beautiful blooms.
We arose from the subway station and were greeted by a beautiful bank of roses along a hillside across from the Tower of London.
Behind them were double, purple columbine, a huge, blooming jasmine bush, viburnums and more.
The remains of an ancient moat is covered with tiny daisies and dandelions, making for a stunning combination. It was fascinating to see the ground hugging wildflowers displayed in such a prominent space. I wonder if any public space in the U.S. would have the courage to do the same.
The moat has been dry since the 1800s but was filled during a flood in the 1930s. During WWII a victory garden was cultivated in the space.
As I was finishing my tour and finally headed back to the hotel, I spotted a wonderful view of sycamore (London Plain) trees with the Tower Bridge in the background.
I can't wait to see the city first thing tomorrow morning.
Photos by Doug Oster. Above photo: These beautiful roses lined a hillside just across from the Tower of London.
This pretty double columbine greeted us right outside the subway station.
I wonder if any public space would have the courage to let these pretty plants thrive together.
A view of the victory garden in the former moat at the Tower of London.
A London Plain tree with the Tower Bridge in the background.
This tiny bouquet of flowers was left on the windowsill in the Tower of London.