Outside Syon House
Syon is now the only part of the tidal Thames with water meadows and a natural foreshore, and it is likely that much of the site once formed an island or eyot in the Thames. The stretch of the river around Syon was once a mass of creeks, islands and marshes, and it's likely that the line of the two lakes in the park denotes a former channel or palaeochannel.
The gardens at Syon have been renowned for their extensive collection of rare trees and plants since 'Capability' Brown landscaped the park in the mid-18th century. It is registered a Grade I landscape in the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Historic Importance in England.
This towering ornament in the gardens was created c.1758 when the 1st Duke of Northumberland converted a large orchard into the 'Syon Pleasure Ground'. Flora stands on a 55 foot (16.7m) column and overlooks a lawn named after her that has organically grown herbaceous beds containing ornamental thistles, Euphorbias, Pholox, Scabious, Gypsophilia and great clumps of Prince of Wales plants. The other principal feature of the pleasure ground is the lake which is a haven for wildlife including terrapins!
Another attraction of the gardens is the ice house. This was in use at Syon by 1760 when it took two days to fill with ice from the lake. The ice was used to make ducal desserts such as ice cream and sorbets and also to cool wine and champagne at the ducal table.