Monday, April 20, 2015

Clifton Nurseries - More Tales of the Unexpected

It's the unlikeliness of the location.  Nestled within a block of Victorian

and Edwardian pass through a black metal gate and down a planted alley into.......

an urban Paradise where all things "gardens" rule, and the best of them are a bit

out of the ordinary.  I mean, how many of the usual suburban garden centers will try to sell you twine in all the colors of the rainbow - for tieing up your sweetpeas and nasturtiums?  

Clifton Nurseries will supply you with the usual roses and daffodils

camellias, geraniums 

and primroses, but it's not everywhere

that will offer you the VERY LATEST in garden furniture in that distingue Hermes orange

to take home with your ancient olive tree for "instant Mediterranean" in your backyard.

Some people die for rhubarb pots (I do).  You might need to send a man to collect them for you, they won't fit in your tote bag......I know - you weren't expecting to find rhubarb pots on this trip to the shops - me either.

And in case you've been feeling left out of all of this season's Sakura viewing?  Clifton Nurseries can help you plant your whole neighborhood.

Surprise, surprise?  Those yellow orchids are fake!

But the garlanded amphorae and the stone sphinxes are 100% percent real.  Wait a minute - which of your suburban big box stores has one or two of those overseeing their sales floors?  None you say?  No, I didn't think so.  And if you are thirsty.  There is a cafe at Clifton Nurseries, inside a greenhouse, for a nice chat with the light pattering of raindrops overhead......

Or if you are like me, there is a nice pub around the corner!  The planting will wait.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Moving Miniatures

Sometimes a theme develops.

 (Photo by Artemis at Junkaholique)

Stars align.

 (handmade by hand in the traditional Chinese way presumably, by Paris' Petit Pan)

Great minds think alike.  That sort of thing.

As Nadine at Tiny Woolf* recently pointed out to me, Artemis at Junkaholique and I covered some of the same ground in London this past month.  Artemis got to Clifton Nurseries before me.  She cadged the tin caravan at a South Bank boot sale (methinks).  Me, I have saved Clifton Nurseries pics for you for later.  And I cadged pictures only of a little boat and an emergency van.  (The originals of which I encountered at the Conran Shop and in Camden Passage in Islington.  Pics 2 and 3 respectively.)  I think though, that all three share in common a very appealing simplicity of form and refreshing graphic qualities.  SO NICE!  I JUST HAD TO SHARE!

Yes, I'm giving you just another idea of some cool things you could become an avid collector of!  No need to thank me.  I know.  I get it.  

Anybody else have samples of similar miniatures?  Send me a pic and I'll add it/them to the post!  Wouldn't that be fun?  We could make a virtual-visual-cyber-collection.  I know, I know, someone's probably doing it already on Pinterest.  But wouldn't we rather be different and a bit retrograde?

*(So nice to have lunch with her in London!  We were enjoying chattering/eating together so much we forgot to take a picture!  I promise you, it was a happy lunch.)


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

London in Full Flower

I get color and flowers

all year round now in Los Angeles.

But the English way with flowers 

still makes me say


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Camden Passage, Islington

This is still

what most non-Londoners

first think of

when you say


Now there are more

"up to date" boutiques like "Hexagone" (specializing in all things French).

But the "fripes" at Annie's

 (and the unbearable whiteness

 of being)

still rule at Camden Passage.

Now you know where the costumers

and set-dressers come for little details and inspiration...for all those gorgeous English costume dramas.*

Yes, you can take a break for frozen yogurt

and pick up dinner at a hipster fish monger's

But the low, or no overhead, vendors remain with their books and bric-a-brac.

Between the daily bread purveyors

and the natty head surveyors.  Bobo Islington

still retains the whiff of Downton* days.

Even if the toffs have traded their topcoats and tails

for buckskin and fringe.

At Camden Passage the past will live on.  And tea-time will always be NOW.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Merijn Hos for the Weekend

I found these via Famille Summerbelle.

The artist is Merijn Hos, from the Netherlands.

They're like a cross-between David Hockney stage sets and Alexander Girard Dolls.

Both of which I adore.  Giving me ideas for that pile of leftover wood in my yard!

Have a fan-tab-u-lous weekend all!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Canal Walk - Maida Vale to Regent's Park, London

It's just marvelous isn't it?

A watery alternative universe

plunked right

in the middle of


This walk starts in Maida Vale near the Warwick Avenue Tube Station.

Did you know that Richard Branson's Virgin business empire originated

in a houseboat in Maida Vale?  (Also known as Little Venice.)

Or that some scenes from A Fish Called Wanda

were filmed here?  Such a characterful place.

And, since it IS England, just because you live on boat, doesn't mean you can't have a garden.

The route is changeable and full of surprises.  At just about Lisson Grove near St. John's Wood it's necessary to rejoin the street above and the water.

Some boat dwellers live in "gated communities"on the canal, that you will not have access to, or that are locked at night.

Brilliant blue paint and miniature gardens are a consistent theme.

I think you might know what I thought about encountering this character.......


A very jaunty and creative bunch seemed to be inhabiting

this particular stretch

of the canal.  But its character changes rather abruptly

as you enter Regent's Park.   Just above

the London Mosque with it's twinkly minaret.

Great doings are underway, apparently.

And yes, those are PRIVATE HOUSES set in prime London real estate.

And yet, cheek by jowl.... right next to...the London Zoo.

More specifically, the warthog exhibit!  (No, really!)  The hyenas are in the next enclosure over.....

and across the canal from them....a peacock aviary.  One does have the sensation by this point of having falling down a particular kind of rabbit hole where thing's do get.....

curioser and curioser.

Because this segment of the London Canal route ends in

a.......Pagoda!  That floats!  (And where you can eat Chinese food!)  I was not expecting that, were you?  

One is reminded again of the saying:  "when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford." - Samuel Johnson