This was my year in Greenwich Park

The more observant among you will have noticed there hasn't been a "a year in Greenwich Park" post yet this month, and that's because I've been debating with myself whether or not to continue with this series. In the end I decided to keep it to a year in Greenwich Park as that has a better ring to it than "another year in Greenwich Park!"  

It's not that I've fallen out of love with Greenwich Park, far from it, but I've noticed that I'm taking less photos and enjoying the park, its scenery and the people that over the year I've nodded, smiled and waved at. 

But I couldn't leave the year without a look back, so here's a photo for every month, and maybe a bonus one or two along the way

It's been quite a year getting to know our local park, and there's still places I haven't shown you. I'm sure there'll be posts from Greenwich Park in the future, and I've enjoyed focusing on how it's changed over the year. I'm contemplating continuing with the "a year in" theme, and I'm looking for the next subject to present itself.

More soon... (hopefully!)

A year in Greenwich Park: July

Well I'm just fifteen days away from celebrating a year of my walking commute which as you know takes me through Greenwich Park each day. And I'm still not tired of it. It changes, and so do the people that use it. And I guess I do too, I have quite defined summer and winter routes through the park (the summer route goes over the grass, the winter route doesn't!) and to mix it up for a few days I walked the winter route in summer. I know, how rock and roll...

Actually it was a fortuitous as I learnt more about the opening times for the Queen's Orchard and finally I made it onto the other side of the gate, which felt a fitting tribute to mark the end of my first year.  It was great, and a space I plan to visit many times more before it shuts for the winter, as long as I can work out the opening times, that is...

But that's not all. July was the month that I noticed the banana plants were back in the flower garden. Last August they were my marker to turn right and head across the grass, the route has become second nature to me so I've not needed a visual clue, but it's good to see them back where I expect to see them.

Turn right at the banana trees in Greenwich Park - it's been a while since i needed the visual clue but it's good to see them back in place

This month I've been marvelling at the light on the trees, how it illuminates the leaves changing their greenness when it hits them. And while I was noticing this, I also noticed the conkers forming in the horse chestnut trees, they are only small, but even so...

light through the trees in Greenwich Park London

How the sunlight flows through the trees and forms shadows has also fascinated me this month. There's been sunny mornings, there's been damper mornings too - hence walking my winter route in the summer. As the schools have finished the park has got busier, not only with families but also tourists and it's great to see the space being so well used.

(Not quite) dancing with my shadow in Greenwich Park

This photo is from my winter route - just look at those clouds, you can see why I didn't want to walk over the grass now can't you? Everytime I walk this way, capturing a glimpse of London's skyline over in Canary Wharf, just takes my breath away. Even on a damp and drizzly morning, in July.

Looking over at London's skyline from Greenwich Park

There was another development in July too - I finally started to cycle to work. The plan was to build it up in time for our trip to Suffolk at the end of the month, and it was going well, although MOH's bike incident and a summer cold did see good intentions slip a little. But the cold has gone, and the traffic is much less now that it's school holidays, so I think when I'm back at work next week the bike could be making a regular appearance.

Another first for my year - a cycling commute - way easier there than coming back though!

It gives me the chance to make use of this gorgeous pannier - so there's an added incentive - getting to work is downhill, so that's all good and it halves my journey time. Coming home though is a different matter and there's the not-so-small matter of cycling up the hill in Greenwich Park. The plus is that I know I can cycle up this hill, even if it takes me a little while (and it does). But I'm hoping that by tackling it more often it'll become as natural to me as turning right at the banana plants did almost a year ago.  

Who knows, but I'm hoping it will and you never know at some point I might treat myself to a new bike as well - well MOH can't be the only one with a new bike now can he?

A year in Greenwich Park: Tranquil sunny mornings and long borders

I guess there's a reason we have the saying "flaming June" and the weather for *most* of the month demonstrated why. Blue skies, sunny days, in fact extremely sunny days meant warm, sunny and tranquil mornings for my daily wander through the park.

And with skies as blue as this, it really was glorious.

Blue skies - how amazing?

It's been a month where I've sought out shade and the cooler, tree lined avenues. I'm finding that more often I'm choosing shade over sun these days, somewhere along the way I've got all sensible and I've no idea how that happened!

sun and shadows on my walking commute
catching the light just right in greenwich park

The trees have been blossoming this month - I need to do more work with my tree recognition skills - as there's few I recognise right now by species. And pointing out these are big trees, really doesn't cut it, does it?

Sometimes greenwich park doesn't feel like greenwich park at all

Unlike previous months I've had very little variation in my routes to work and as the month went on I realised my 'park time' had been low, especially with a few days off and so I needed to change that. With such lovely days it'd be a shame not to leave the office at lunchtimes and a plan was hatched to get out most days, whether that was just to eat lunch, or more often taking a walk like this one along the long border behind the Queen's House.

Looking along the Long Borders by the Queen's House

And it's pretty long as long borders goes. Initially I looked at it as one, and then more closely and I realised that the large swathes of colour and plants were in fact six or more plants planted alongside each other, and it's this block planting that gives the impact.  I'd watched from a distance on my walks into Greenwich as the gardeners and landscapers filled the border with plants and flowers of all colours.

Just part of the long border which is planted in large chunks that repeat along the border

When you look more closely you see that there's not really any spectacular plants - I mean they are all beautiful, but none as individuals are striking. Their impact comes from when they're grouped together, and I think there's a useful lesson in there for all of us, even in much smaller spaces. 

Symmetry and blue skies, and a gate, firmly shut, but still a gate

Having a great backdrop also helps though!

yellow flowers in the long border in front of the Queen's House in Greenwich

And then in the blink of an eye, it was July. I know, this year is flying past.

And with it, a milestone. July will be the twelfth month in my first year of walking to work through Greenwich Park - can you believe it, I've been in my new job for almost a year now, which I guess really should make it less new and just my job!

The park has become such a big part of my working day that it would feel odd to stop this series, so unless something drastically changes (and I'm hoping it doesn't!) I'll be carrying on with monthly posts on life in the park, as there's still so much more to observe and share.

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