A visit to Kew Gardens

Intro

The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in London is a spectacular place. It is the largest botanical garden in the world – 300 acres of it to be precise. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and houses some 50,000 plants. It is a beautiful oasis of calm in a busy city and is also home to a lot of wildlife. There are many attractions and you can never see it all in a day. We decided just to go with the flow and wander, taking in a few ‘must sees.’

We started with the Rhododendron Walk or Dell. There are colours of rhododendrons in every conceivable colour and size, but interspersed along the walk are all manner of plants. Here the soft light emerges through the canopy of a large acer tree.

Among the damp, coolness of the dell were these beautiful yellow irises.

What I really like are the little paths leading off the main one, where you can have an adventure and make new discoveries. It is like a giant secret garden. There are many areas that have wildflowers too. Such as this cow parsley meadow.

The Giant Pagoda was built for the founder of the gardens – Princess Augusta and was completed in 1762.

In the Japanese Garden, there was a Peacock strutting about enjoying the attention.

I think my favourite place has to be the Temperate House. There are all kind of beautiful plants inside. We didn’t go into the Palm House on this visit, but that too is an amazing place if you can stand the heat!

The Temperate House was looking more established than our last visit. Here is a view of part of the giant glass house from the inside.

Did you know that ferns appeared on earth over 360 million years ago? Long before the dinosaurs...

A beautiful Bird of Paradise flower.

Back in the garden, a Eucalyptus tree grows lazily across a path at a 45 degree angle.

More cow parsley.

The tulips were still out at the end of May, following the coldest May in 25 years.

One of two lions overlooking a lake.

A view of the lake.

Wildlife.

The Waterlily House contains the giant Amazon waterlily. In Victorian times, children were photographed sitting on them.

Finally, this sculpture caught my eye. It is called Leaf Spirit by Simon Gudgeon. It almost seems to merge with the trees when the light shines.

We walked almost 6 miles. If you are a keen garden enthusiast or botanist and want to look in detail at everything, you probably need to spend a few days there!

New Material

Now that lockdown has eased in the U.K, it is nice to get out with the camera and discover new things to photograph.

This tulip was called ‘Brown Sugar.’ I liked the tones of apricot, gold, cream and dark pink.
Sunlight streaming through a woodland glade filled with narcissus.
Need a rest? This bench has Siberian bugloss adorning it.
A solitary narcissus.
Red tulips about to open.
A tree in blossom.
Delicate pink and white blossom.
Amazingly bright yellow and orangey-red tulips.
An unusual little plant. Possibly Lathyrus – pink, purple, white and blue flowers.

Magnolias

Finally, some Pasque flowers.

Heatwave

The intense heat appears to give an eerie golden glow in the evening.

Barley field.
Tall grasses illuminated by the evening sun.
Gold.
Wild flowers.
Cobwebs elegantly draped over a nettle.
Backlit wildflowers.
Blinding sun.
Fading sun.

Spring has sprung

Daffodils.

The soft pink and white flowers of Helleborus Emma swaying in the wind.

In the 14th Century, the term ‘springing time’ was used instead of the old English ‘Lent’ or ‘Lenten’. This was referring to plants springing from the ground. It then became ‘spring-time’ and by the 16th Century was shortened to ‘spring.’

Red and bold.

Persephone was the Greek goddess of spring. She spent winters as Queen of the Underworld but returned in spring to preside over rebirth.

Sissinghurst Revisited

A bit of colour and sunshine to lift the spirits in the depths of Winter, some photographs from earlier in the year.

A bee foraging.
Plants in the shade.

Green flowers – Ixia viridifloria. Introduced by Vita Sackville-West to Sissinghurst, from South Africa.

Autumn’s end

The first meteorological day of Winter is on December 1st. Some pictures to celebrate the end of the season.

A sycamore in golden light.
Delicate seed heads swaying in a light breeze.
Sunlight reflecting through leaves

Sissinghurst

Vita Sackville-West on Sissinghurst: ‘The heavy golden sunshine enriched the old brick with a kind of patina, and made the tower cast a long shadow across the grass, like the finger of a gigantic sundial veering slowly with the sun. Everything was hushed and drowsy and silent but for the coo of the white pigeons.’
Sunshine lighting up flowers.
Irises.
Chamomile flowers.
Delicate flowers.
Sunlight highlighting a flower in the shade.
Meadow flowers and grasses swaying in the wind, in the wilderness of the Orchard area.
Light and shadow.

Gardens & Woodland

Bluebells, azaleas, rhododendrons and red campions.

Young leaves growing on an Acer tree.

A close-up of a bluebell.

A close-up of a Rhododendron flower.

Young Acer leaves with sunshine behind them.

A Bluebell close-up.