Southsea Rock Gardens
While we're all staying home and keeping safe, I'm really missing my visits to gardens. But I had to pop into Portsmouth one evening last week so I took the opportunity to enjoy a stroll around the Rock Gardens in Southsea. They can get quite busy - even in the evening I had to make some quick moves to maintain social distancing - so I'd recommend a visit when we're all back to normal.
Apparently these were originally commissioned as part of a "Back to Work" scheme in 1928, a time of economic depression and high unemployment following the First World War. There's a really interesting article about their history here: https://www.portsmouth.co.uk/news/volunteers-celebrate-90-years-southsea-rock-gardens-1013916.
The gardens now are a lot smaller than the original ones, covering just 1.35ha, but careful landscaping and winding paths still makes them a lovely place for a wander with surprises around every corner. The climate here on the South Coast of England is mild, and the gardens are in a hollow so protected from the offshore winds, which means some surprising plants can grow including palm trees and cactus.
I don't know the names of many of these plants so I'm just going to present my photos as a taster: