Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Parks of the West End

Pelican in St. James Park - it was about waist-high.
Rents are driven up in London's western post codes in part because of their close proximity to the Royal parks: from North to South, these include Regent's Park, Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens (contiguous, and generally just called Hyde Park), Green Park, and St. James' Park.

I think it generally worth the extra money to have a bit of beauty in an otherwise concrete-jungle life.  London's royal parks have been a source of much joy for my husband and myself.  This morning found us sprinting through Green and St. James' parks, investigating the new almond and cherry blossoms and narcissus shoots, and doing crunches, push-ups, and pull-ups amid and among the trees.

The "wildlife," though truly tame, is also a great attraction, as are the many dogs which are allowed off-lead in the parks (who will invariably find my husband, who is like a Disney princess in that animals are naturally attracted to him).  The pelican above in St. James' Park would even allow brave asian tourists to pet it while posing in their pictures, and squirrels in Green Park have actually climbed up and done a back flip off my husband's leg (I almost expected it to start singing, too).  I have seen more pictures taken of Green Park squirrels than any other squirrels in the world.

The cultivating of small gardens within the parks is quite a marvel, and quintessentially British.  I've heard the British plan their gardens such that something is always blooming.  I have found this hard to believe, but if "blooms" include winter berries, it may well be true.  Especially after this morning's tete-et-tete with the blossoming trees--it's (early) February!

Rose Garden in Hyde Park Corner.

View of Buckingham Palace from Green Park.

Queen Anne's rose garden in Regents' Park - it has hundreds of English rose varieties.

Single rose in Regents' Park.

Sometimes one can see mounted cavalry in Hyde Park--they train in a corral close by. 

Friendly squirrel in Green Park.