We are thrilled to introduce Kirstin von Glasow, Author of our beautiful new guidebook, 111 Gardens in London That You Shouldn't Miss. We asked her to tell us about the inspiration she finds in gardens of all kinds.
Gardening in Chelsea Physic Garden
When I was four or five years old, I loved picking flowers. I wanted to give my mum a bunch of flowers for mother’s day but unfortunately we didn’t have a garden. So, I went out early in the morning to gather a lovely bunch of flowers – from the neighbours’ gardens. My mum didn’t approve.
Spring Blossoms in Battersea Park
Since then I’ve stopped picking flowers from the neighbours’ gardens and started gardening myself but I still pause to admire their roses over the fence. This is the reason why I really loved the idea of making a book on gardens in London. I could finally visit all the beautiful gardens I always wanted to see!
A creek runs through Golders Hill Park
During my research and trips all over London I realized that although plants are the main players here, there is so much more to discover than beautiful flowerbeds. Not only are these spaces immensely important for urban wildlife, soil and air quality, they also tell stories about London’s history and not least about Londoners themselves. All gardens and parks are man-made and were created by someone who left their imprint. And every garden tells its own story.
A lovely bridge in the Barbican Conservatory
The Royal hunting reserves still still have hundreds of fallow and red deer roaming in them. Formal parks were created to demonstrate the glory and grandeur of the reigning monarch. Pleasure gardens provided recreation and entertainment for the public. Garden cemeteries were laid out, and burial grounds were turned into parks. The poor had to work for a living in workhouse gardens, and public parks were often the result of donations by individual benefactors who wanted to promote public health and well-being. More recently, some green spaces, in danger of being built over by tower blocks, were fiercely defended by local communities and became social centres for the neighbourhood.
Gorgeous blossoms at Kenwood House in Hampstead Heath
Let’s not forget that the beauty of London’s gardens, public parks or nature reserves is a result of the work of many unnamed volunteers, who maintain these spaces for the enjoyment of all.
Kristin von Glasow, born and raised in Cologne, studied German literature, philosophy and art history. Today she works as a curator, author and filmmaker in London and Cologne.
Enjoying a snooze in the shade at Gordon Square Gardens