The azaleas, camellias, magnolias and rhododendrons are nearly all out now in Richmond Park. Although most of the park is just green, there’s an enclosed park-within-a-park called the Isabella Plantation. Why is it called Isabella? It seems that ‘Isabel’ is an word from the Middle Ages meaning ‘dingy yellow’, possibly a reference to the colour of the topsoil, or so the information board says at the gate.
Dingy yellow is the very last thing on your mind when you visit the plantation at this time of year. It’s a blaze of colour from white through every shade of pink and red to lilac, purple and violet. We always argue about which is the ‘best’ colour. Today we agreed that the fun lies in the way the colours give way to one another, each new colour seeming somehow nicer and more vivid because of what came before, and what comes after.