When I was in London last week for an intensive workshop, immediately after I dropped my bags off at the hotel, I rushed out for a walk to get re-acquainted with this city that I love so dearly.
There was a time in my life when I flew to England regularly to visit and study gardens. Whether my destination was Kent, Sussex, the Cotswolds or even trekking to Wales, I always managed to spend at least a few days in London on the tale end of the trip to unwind and walk for hours to take in its outstanding architecture and greenery.
Although my memories of London are filled with a plentitude of green spaces, gardens, history and culture, I had forgotten the deep emotions it sparked in me: joy, gratitude, awe, and feelings of celebration.
On this trip, the moment I turned the corner from my hotel, I was like a kid in a candy shop. The first thing I noticed was a cut flower shop. Now, it’s not as if I don’t pass by florists all the time but it was just something about being in this city that made all my senses tingle. As soon as I walked through the door of the shop and saw all the flowers lined up and two people hugging, I felt at home.
And that feeling continued for the next four days while visiting this grand city. Whether passing gardening baskets overflowing with an abundance of magnificent specimens, or a small aberrant shaped garden bed on a busy street corner filled with raucous and ravishing perennials and annuals, or passing through a garden on the side of a church, the audacious beauty of this ‘city in the garden’ overwhelmed me.
I was planning to add on a few days to my trip just so I would have time to meander around the city. But I was so tired after intensive days of workshops and meetings that I decided it was best for me to return to Philadelphia. When I woke up in the middle of the night on Thursday (still on London time) and read the horrid news about the bombing in the London tube, I recoiled in horror.
I know that Londoners are resilient and proud people who will not let the craziness of certain groups or individuals prevent them from continuing with their lives.
But please know that several millions of us in the U.S. are sending our deep love, blessings, and prayers for all of you who have been impacted by this tragedy.