31 May 2010

Front Lawn at Cecil House

The large garden at Cecil House has various sections, including a woodland walk and a pond, but what defines the garden for me is the front lawn and the geometric hedge that separate is from the terrace next to the house.

30 May 2010

Stretton Road

The sign is a little tatty and the brick wall is too new to have any character but it warrants attention because of the unusual font with its straight serifs.

29 May 2010

Evening stroll

My frequent wanders through, around and about Ham often take me to Ham Lands where the myriad of paths mean that I am always lost to some extent and am never quite sure if I have been to that spot before. In that spirit, this is a recent picture taken on a late glorious evening somewhere in Ham Lands.

26 May 2010


I try to walk all the roads, paths and alleyways in Ham a few times every year as there are always new things to discover, such as this bold skull, a little reminiscent of South Park, that decorates one of the alleyways just off Ham Street.

25 May 2010

Through the arch

In the classic BBC children's programme Play School the highlight was travelling through the arch, round or square window to get to the story on the other side but here in Sudbrook Gardens the arch is the story. The pleasure comes from admiring its unusual shape and its thick cloak of foliage. What lies beyond is much less interesting.

24 May 2010

Bold statement in Sudbrook Gardens

Peering into Sudbrook Gardens your eye is pleasingly drawn to where the road bends sharply to the right forcing the house there to look directly back at you. It has been freshened up recently and its sharp white walls demand attention, but not for long as the four tall trees behind it imperiously make their case for supremacy while looking down dismissively on the brash interloper.

22 May 2010


One of the distinctive and delightful features of the large and mixed garden at Petersham Lodge is this subtle and subdued bridge over the pond.

21 May 2010

Ham Gate Avenue now in colour

I've taken pictures of this brick wall and these doors before but not as this time of the year. This time I've raised my eyes a little to capture the bursts of colour that fill the sky like a strangely silent firework display. I especially like the way that the purple bounces across the wall from right to left before collapsing exhausted just above the smaller door.

19 May 2010

Aristocrat has gone

All of a sudden there is a second empty unit on Ham Parade with the demise of Aristocrat. At least we can be consoled by the fact that the parade has another dry cleaner and another laundrette so no services have been lost.

18 May 2010

Flowers at Petersham Lodge

Petersham Lodge is to be thanked for opening it's garden for public inspection for a few days every year as it is packed with goodies like this stone planter bursting with colour as it brazenly fights for attention in a garden rich with visual treats.

17 May 2010


There are times when you could be forgiven for not realising that Petersham Nurseries sells flowers and plants but if you do stray away from the cafe area there are still some clues that it does, clues like this large selection of tulips in a range of vibrant colours.

15 May 2010

Changes at Petersham Nurseries

Last time I was in Petersham Nurseries I made some comments about how much I liked the far end away, from the shop and the cafe, with it's abandoned look and its collection of odd artefacts that did not really feel quite at home there. Now this area is being redeveloped and it remains to be seen what it will metamorphose in to. I hope the quaintness and charm will remain, but I doubt it.

14 May 2010

St Michael's gardens

Ham is blessed with many great houses, lodges, manors and mansions and many of these have equally impressive gardens. Many of these are hidden from even my persistent eyes but some are open to the public from time to time. St Michael's convent, on the north edge of Ham Common, is one of these.

The patchwork of gardens shows the influence of many hands at work over many years and there are many little idiosyncrasies within the simple overall design. Here, for example, the large kitchen garden has a little pond in one of the flower beds.

The heart of the garden, both physically and emotionally, is the informal orchard where a few trees are allowed to produce fruit at leisure. Between them, the grass is allowed to grow as tall as it likes and the brightly coloured tulips grow even taller to punctuate the scene with shocks of vivid colour like the aftermath of a paint-ball fight.

13 May 2010

Along the edge of Ham Lands

I am glad to be a part of Friends of Ham Lands (FoHL), and I hope that they can help to protect and promote the natural beauty of the area, but I do disagree slightly over their definition of the boundaries of Ham Lands.

FoHL have drawn the boundary line along the front of Ham House but I extend it all the way up to Meadlands Drive and Sandy Lane to include Ham Polo, The Copse and the horse field next to it. The hedge on the left is along the path next to the Sandy Lane playground and is where I think Ham Lands ends. Its sharp butchery of last year reminds you that this is not a wilderness after all.

12 May 2010

Still sheep

The larger, more exotic but less believable gorilla and rhinoceros at Ormeley Lodge now have some rivals. These cute but entirely fake sheep look at home among the new trees at Montrose House. You can see them clearly if you brave the traffic (for there is no pavement there) and look through the large gates opposite the entrance to the German School.

11 May 2010

Kitchen garden

The kitchen garden at Ham House is one of the least developed gardens there but it is catching up with its grander neighbours lying closer to the house thanks to some attractive planting. The pleasing mix of vegetables and flowers draws people to the tables and chairs outside of the cafe.

10 May 2010

Sandy Lane

After three years of doing this blog this is my first picture of Sandy Lane!

I've considered taking pictures here before and have walked along the road many times but, to be honest, I've never felt that there was a picture there worth taking. I just find it a boring road.

This time I was checking on the progress of the new children's playground behind the hedge on the left when the gentle curve of the road, the bold trees and the absence of cars finally tempted me to take my camera out of my pocket, where it lives at all times.

9 May 2010

Waiting boats

Summer's first faltering appearance brought the eager leisure boats out to see what all the fuss was about. Finding their way downstream blocked by Teddington Lock, they wait patiently at the new moorings for the opening gates to welcome them in to the warm embrace of the lock.

7 May 2010

We have a new MP

I don't normally comment on the news or politics in this blog but for the last few weeks the estate agent boards for the two main candidates in the Richmond Park constituency have been quite a feature of the area and the winner, Zac Goldsmith, was listed on the ballot papers as living just round the corner in The Bramlings, Ham Gate Avenue.

6 May 2010

In the trees

The view of the avenue of trees across Ham Common is a little spoilt when they are bare by some colourful objects trapped in them. One may be an innocent kite (I've had my own major kite incident on the Common!) but the other is a road sign thrown there deliberately. The new leaves will hide them for the Summer and we can be thankful for that.

5 May 2010

High window with bricks

I wonder if this window high-up on the front of St Peter's Church has been bricked up to keep the ungodly out or the godly in. Either way it provides a welcome touch of decoration and mystery to a fairly ordinary building, architecturally speaking.

4 May 2010

Lots of pots

One of the nice features at Ham House is the clean crisp promenade that runs across the width of the garden at the back. It is raised above the rest of the garden and the resultant precipice is marked by a striking line of curiously empty pots.

3 May 2010

Blossom at St Michael's

With the arrival of Spring comes the open garden season and while the rain is working hard at times to keep people indoors there are still plenty of opportunities to feast on the natural beauty normally hidden in local gardens. Here the main path through the back of the garden at St Michael's leads under the bright pink cherry blossom towards a restful bench in the shade.

2 May 2010

Hidden house

The Wilderness at Ham House is at its best at this time of year before the hordes of visitors have work away the grass paths and the hedges look fresh and bright in their new Spring greenery. The view changes continuously as you wandering the many paths and occasionally the house itself can be seen awkwardly as if it does not really belong there.

1 May 2010

Spreading fence

The new natural fence is slowly spreading east along Great South Avenue towards Ham Common. Behind it is the almost-as-new metal fence that makes the smaller one superfluous. I'd rather they had just let the saplings grow tall instead of contorting them in to a low hedge.