28 July 2014

Walking into Ham Lands

One of my objectives in maintaining this blog is to celebrate the natural areas of Ham that some take for granted (because they use them so often) and that some do not know about (because they do not explore where they live).

Nature is at its most rampant in Ham Lands and that is a place a that like to roam as often s I can. Often that means starting with the green that lies between the river and Burnell Avenue.

From there I walk north-west along the towpath where Beaufort House is all but hidden by the trees at this time of the year.

Once past Teddington Lock, Ham Lands opens up. There are several large paths that run through it but I generally avoid those, preferring to take paths like this instead.

27 July 2014

Garden at Ormeley Lodge (June 2014)

Ormeley Lodge is not only one of the best houses locally, it has one of the best gardens too and that means that I try to go there whenever it is open. I went there in June, took a lot of photographs which I have painfully reduced down to just nine.

The gorilla is a good place to start.

New to the garden this year were a few memorials to dogs. These had come from Lady Annabel Goldsmith's ancestral home.

The garden already had quite a few interesting things in it (like the gorilla!) but it was large enough to accommodate the new arrivals without looking fussy,

While most of the garden was simply decorative one corner housed a useful vegetable garden. Despite having a serious purpose it also managed to look pretty.

The wild garden in the former orchard at the back of the garden was my favourite part, as always. This year it was in fantastic form with a myriad of flecks of colour and I liked it more than ever.

 The main borders around the large lawn looked good too.

As did the lawn.

The gap in the hedge, guarded by lions, led the way to the wild flower orchard.

The garden had plenty of paths which made it easy to explore and also plenty of seats to rest on when the exploring got too much.

Back to the wild flower garden for the obligatory picture of the patient rhinoceros that tries his best to hide there but somehow all the children manage to find him.

This gazebo was my favourite construct in the garden. If it was up to me this would have hide pride of place on the main lawn rather than being somewhat hidden away in one of the side paths.

22 July 2014

Cricket on the Common

Cricket is a welcome addition to the Common in the Summer and while I have never watched a whole game I will usually pause and watch an over or two when I walk by, taking great care not to walk behind the bowler as I do so.

20 July 2014

Gardens at St. Michael's Convent

St. Michael's Convent will be moving away from its Ham Common home in a year or two so I took advantage of an open garden day to have a good look around and to take lots of pictures. Here are just a few that try to show the size and shape of the gardens.

One of the main features is the orchard. This lies just beyond the large lawn at the back of the house.

 To one side of the lawn, hidden behind a tall brick wall, is a kitchen garden. Here there are vegetables, some flowers and a couple of greenhouses.

The lawn sits behind the house and is massive. This is the view looking across it sideways with the house off to the left and the orchard just peeping above the hedge on the right.

Moving to the back of the previous picture and turning right put the house behind me and a pretty border on the left. In the background are some of the trees that define the back of the garden.

19 July 2014

Wisteria and windows

There is much that I like about this picture, which is why I took it. The house is pretty enough with its large regular windows, tidy brickwork and clean white frontage and the wisteria both respects and enhances it.

18 July 2014

Ham Fair 2014

There was good weather for Ham Fair this year which helped to make it a great day out. I went twice, once to look around and the second to help on the HUG stall. I also judged the children's photography competition for HAG on my first visit.

The layout was ever so slightly different this year but it was essentially the same as in precious years. Why change a successful formula?

The Ham community stalls were clustered together which I found worked well as there were a lot of connections between us.

15 July 2014

Brightening up Back Lane

All it takes to transform a drab corner is a lick of colourful paint and a few plants. This change adds a little bit of jollity to the walk along Back Lane.

13 July 2014

Party fireworks on the river

It was a happy coincidence that I was walking over the footbridge from Teddington this evening just as a party on one of the houseboats moored on the Ham bank launched a few fireworks.

12 July 2014

Galloping horseman

I discovered this weathervane during my visit to Woodbine Cottage during Petersham Open Gardens 2014. It was perched neatly on the house next door on the north side.

10 July 2014

Ham Close

Ham Close is another part of Ham whose future is the subject of some speculation which prompted me to record it before it changes.

I like this view of the Close across the Green with Ham Street behind me. This is probably the sort of view the architects had in mind when they designed it.

6 July 2014

Keeping an eye on Cassel Hospital

There is the possibility, if not probability, that the Cassel Hospital site will be redeveloped in the not too distant future and with that in mind I want to make sure that I have captured as it is today before it all goes.

This section is just to the north (or right) of the original house and I think that it is prettier because of the acres of brick and Georgian windows.

4 July 2014

Blackout at Forbes House

The owners of Forbes House, the faux mansion on Ham Common, take their privacy seriously, as I discovered when I visited their garden last year. They have now made it even more private by blacking out the front gates.

1 July 2014

Crossing the bridge to Ham

The prettiest way to enter Ham is via the footbridge at Teddington. The first section is low as only small boats pass underneath and so it is gentle rise up to the first of the two magnificent towers.

The weir usually provides a welcoming chorus of sound as the water tumbles down the steep drop but when the tide is high the incoming water just about climbs to the top and hides the fall. Then the machinery of the weir looks lost and out of place.

The moorings that run under the footbridge provide a little colour and a lot of interest.

The bridge's second span from the artificial island to Ham is high to let the pleasure cruisers pass beneath and the elevated view south-east towards Kingston is always worth pausing for.

Moving further along the bridge and looking south-east again reveals more of the curving river and the full sweep of the weir.