|It was a beautiful day in London
It was meant to be Chelsea! Julie Williams advance-purchased train tickets for the five of us before finding Chelsea was fully booked! So we went to Kew.
To assuage Julie's embarrassment when Brenda subsequently tried to arrange a different jaunt to London Open Squares Gardens, she purchased the tickets for the gardens, booked Waterloo Travelodge on a none-refundable deal before finding the gardens were open the following week. We did the Jubilee Walk instead! You just can't get the staff!
We arrived At Kew Tube Station and ate a hearty breakfast outside in the morning sunshine before confidently wandering down to the gardens secure that each one of us knew the way. We walked about half a mile 180 degrees in the wrong direction. A perfect start to a wonderful day! As we entered the garden Peter and I reminisced how fifty years ago we went in for a penny. Not anymore!
Before I embark on describing some scenes in this fantastic and wonderful garden I ought to explain why some of my comments are rather ungracious and carping. It's more that I want discuss a few interesting technical considerations rather than complain. To manage such a huge and sophisticated garden as well as they do is no inconsiderable achievement.
Take labelling. Another (unnamed) botanic garden I visited recently had a number of misplaced labels. Spring bulbs had died down to be replaced by the new growth of Summer plants. It was very confusing. One could also see a bulb labelled miscanthus when this tall grass was actually emerging two metres away. It's very difficult when untrained staff and worse Joe Public rearrange labels. An absolute nightmare.
For Kew it was a minor sin, when in a display bed I found a corydalis wrongly labelled as the related adlumia. Shades of schadenfruede, I am ashamed to say. I felt a frisson of satisfaction.
|My camera work is worse than their naming
|This is a real Adlumia fungusa
Pictures of Kew
|The ducks think the flower urns are nests.
|Is tattooing trees a new trend?
|Cathi, Julie and Brenda all cook with pine nuts and were fascinated by the bark of this historic tree
|Fascinating story how neglect in a Victorian nursery determined the tree’s shape. It gives me hope for my own misdemeanours!
|A wonderful place to bring children for stimulating projects. Hard work for the teachers.
|These diligent students are being very good not to walk on the soil. Last time I went to Oxford Botanic Garden, Marilyn, Dave and Brenda shouted at me and gasped in astonishment when I walked on the fluffed up soil to examine a plant.
|They don't give my own sophora the same degree of attention.
|When you build a new rock garden use generous sized stone
|They sometimes say garden maintenance in public places is boring. How could it be so in such a beautiful place?
|Did the automatic humidifiers or overhead watering system break down on a very hot day? I sometimes think that plants should be displayed, worts and all, as they really are in the jungle!
|What wonderful markings on this aquatic plant. It was fascinating to learn from a display that some of the floating tropical aquatics have on their underside the equivalent of thorns - to deter predators
|The water lily house was our favourite place
|There are many fine historic buildings in the grounds.
|The old orangery now serves as a tea room. I love the shape of that border
|Taking a walk in the daisies
|By the time we got here we were a little tired and failed to investigate. Wonder what we missed?
|This tree would be a very good visual aid for a lecture on tree compartmentalisation. You can see how the branch is a very distinct structure from a trunk and where on the shoulder a pruning cut should be made.
Tribute to Kew
What a wonderful garden! What beautiful spacious parkland and grounds. The further you walk away from the gate and explore into the hinterland the more natural it seems to become, albeit, or should I say because of, the plants of the world are growing together. As a result of the artifices of skilled management and careful planting the plants seem to belong there.
Tens of thousands of different plants are preserved in the grounds. This is just the tip of the iceberg with regard to the conservation work done by Kew. Worldwide their staff seek out endangered plants and habitats and by advice, education and persuasion help to preserve them. Sometimes natural habitats no longer exist and plants can only be preserved by moving them around the world and growing them in gardens and new ecologies.
Moving plants around the world is what Kew has been good at for the past 250 years. Think of all the plants, food crops and commodities that have passed through their hands and literally have changed the world.
You do not have to be a gardener to appreciate Kew. The garden contains historic buildings, monuments and greenhouses. The buildings provide for administration, research laboratories, preserved plant collections, gene banks of seeds and educational facilities. Kew educates and trains gardeners from all over the world.
The plants in both the historic and new state of-the-art greenhouses are just amazing.
It is tragic that Kew’s grant from the state has been reduced yet again. The value of trade in plants that Kew have given the world would pay for the annual maintenance of the garden hundreds of times over.
I wish the British public appreciated Kew more. It should be top of any list as a garden to visit in London. ‘Other places’ might display huge skill in short term display, publicity, hype and television coverage. British horticulture is magnificently represented at Kew!
My previous two London garden visits London Squares Gardens