A Local Gem at its best

Published: 27/03/2024 By Allan Fuller

The Isabella Plantation is a beautiful 40 acre woodland garden set within a Victorian plantation established in the 1830's. 

First opened to the public in 1953, it is best known for its evergreen azaleas, which line the ponds and streams and are at their peak of flower in late April and early May.
 
Located in the gardens are the National Plant Collection of Wilson 50 Kurume Azaleas (introduced to the west from Japan in the 1920's by the plant collector Ernest Wilson). Extensive collections of Rhododendron, Magnolia and Camellia, plus many other unusual trees, shrubs and herbaceous plantings ensure interest to hundreds of thousands of visitors all year round.
 
The garden is part of the Richmond Park Site of Special Scientific Interest. It is managed very much with nature in mind and the gardens are run on organic principles. Native plants commonly grow alongside exotics throughout the garden. Perimeter and shelterbelt areas are planted with native nectar and berry bearing trees and shrubs to provide food and shelter for birds, bats and insects. The gardens’ ponds and streams provide additional habitat for invertebrates and amphibians.