May 02, 2009

Spring in Isabella Plantation

Isabella Plantation is a located near the southwest corner of Richmond Park. Getting to Isabella Plantation on public transportation is quite an endevour. We took the bus to Dysart Arms and walked through the Petersham Gate. We followed the too-infrequent signs and finally found the entrance to the fenced 42-acre garden. On the way out, we took a wrong turn and got totally disoriented. We finally asked directions and the very nice person drove us to a southerly gate. Several buses later, we made our way home.
Despite our transportation travails, Isabella Plantation was definitely worth it! Although the park deputy ranger Lord Sidmouth fenced off the area in 1831, most of what we see now was the work of the park superintendent George Thomson and his head gardener Wally Miller 1951 - 1971. They introduced new varieties of rhododendron and azalea, dug a stream and enlarged the site to include Peg's Pond. More recent changes include a new wild stream in the northern section and reconstructing the Bog Garden.
Per the Richmond Park website: "The garden now has 15 known varieties of deciduous azalea and houses the national collection of 50 Kurume Azaelas, introduced to the west around 1920 by the plant collector, Ernest Wilson. There are also 50 different species of rhododendron and 120 hybrids." Camellias and magnolias were also in bloom during our visit. Needless to say, we took MANY pictures.

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