4 June 2011

Four Kew Gardens

Another opportunity from the National Gardens Scheme took me to Kew.

Not to Kew Gardens this time but to a collection of private gardens between Kew Green and the river.

This came on the same day that I went to see nine local gardens so there was a risk of rather over doing the garden watching but both events demanded my presence, the weather was lovely, the 65 bus connects the two site and there was just about enough time to fit them all in.

The four gardens run parallel to Ferry Lane and are accessed from the tow-path that runs along the river. The shared location and shape mean that there is a lot of commonality between the gardens, so much so that I cannot recall which picture is of which garden.

Not that that really matters, this is a collection of gardens that should be appreciated together and not individually.

When a garden is very long and relatively narrow then there is always going to be a path that runs the full length and several visual barriers to break the garden up in to smaller sections.

Hedges are the natural way to form these barriers  as they divide the garden while also being a part of it.

One of the gardens unsuccessfully experiments with a garden room as a divider but this really does not work. The lesson is to stick with plants to shape a garden.

And what better way to transition from one section to the next than through an arch.

A garden with many sections needs a theme for each one and with many ideas to come up with it's an easy choice to just let one of those sections run wild.

Luckily wild flower meadows are very fashionable at the moment, almost boringly so, which makes sneaking one in to your garden very easy.

And it's easy to see why they are popular as they fill the space with natural colours and shapes that tempt you to forget that this is a garden and that somebody looks after it with care and attention.

Long gardens also have long borders and at this time of the year they are opulent and fresh. The flowers reach to the end of the long stalks and then stretch themselves eagerly towards the sun.

Each of the four gardens had at least one such border and this traditional but grand beauty was the highlight of the afternoon.

While the borders captured the beauty awards it was the long paths that defined the gardens.

With so much ground to cover the paths have a lot of work to do, especially when they choose to take a longer more circuitous, but hopefully prettier, route.

This path manages to be both direct (i.e. straight) and pretty due to the even size of the slabs. Possibly more effort that the path deserves but I, for one, appreciate it.

I also love the way that the lush greenery pays scant attention to the path and does all it can to cross it.

Thanks to the visit to nine local gardens earlier in the day I only had around thirty minutes to scramble through these four gardens  so I am sure that I missed some of the detail in passing. The way to fix that is to visit them again next time that they are open.

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