Isabella, my kinda girl


The Isabella Plantation in Richmond Park at this time of the year is one the world’s great gardens. 40 acres of sculptured, stream and pond etched woodland, a  heart stopping collection of azaleas, rhododendrons and camellias. All of which are flowering now ,creating a samba of colour,  an ode to the joy of spring.

It was in this garden that the family wheeled my mother around in the weeks before she died. Typically she went from cancer diagnosis to death in three months. No fuss, no bother just time to organise her memorial party and address the invitations.

But this week we took her great granddaughter Octavia, She doesn’t admire the blossoms, she  paddles in the streams and  ponds. She also  has a unique game of hide and seek. You pretend to seek and she doesn’t really hide. Its always obvious where she is   but you have to go through the charade of looking  elsewhere.  I wonder where she is? Ah,there she is.

This means that now the Isabella Plantation is blessed with two family spirits. One approaching death the other starting a life. As a student I spent one summer working in the Park. I have run, walked and cycled in and through  it all my adult life. I once had a birthday picnic near the Royal Ballet School.

Whatever, the Park’s  pride may be the Queens  Ride Avenue, its soul maybe the view of London, its sex the Penn Ponds, but its heart will always be the Isabella Plantation.


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