27 August 2011

Kew Gardens in early August

There are lots of good reasons for visiting Kew Gardens regularly and one of them is the variety that is always on show.

A new attraction is the Times Eureka Garden built originally for Chelsea and now sitting comfortably just inside Victoria Gate.

I liked the garden when I saw it at Chelsea back in May but then I could only walk around the outside of it. Now that it is home in Kew you can walk through it and so appreciate it a lot more.

The strangely shaped wood and plastic structure defines the garden but not so much that you miss the exceptional planting.

It's a short step from there to the magnificent Palm House with its pretty parterre.

This is the formal heart of Kew Gardens and it is clear that a lot of care and attention is taken to ensure that it looks its very best all year round. I've walked through the part of the garden many times and it still has the capacity to surprise and delight.

From there Kew gets less formal, though no less planned. The long straight path that heads towards the Orangery Restaurant benefits from the flower beds that have been added to encourage the pollinators.

I always feel that the South-East corner is somewhat overlooked by visitors scared to wander too far away from the main attractions. It's one of my favourite parts.

There you will find the Duke's Garden.

A horse-shoe path follows a lawn round from one gate to the other with substantial flower borders on either side.

But the real gem is beyond that in a second garden next to the house that is enclosed by sumptuous high brick walls that create a discrete environment and also provide a warm backdrop to the colourful flowers.

The nearby Grass Garden is another favourite of mine showing that you do not need flowers and colour to make plants attractive.

The grasses are planted in small groups that let you compare and contrast them easily.

There are clear differences in their shapes, for example some are fluffy while others are spiky, and there are subtler variations within these, such as their height.

Grasses may not be everybody's cup of tea but, like the woodlands, they are very much part of the rich variety of Kew Gardens that makes it so wonderful.

Walls feature again as we head back towards Victoria Gate.

They hide the Order Beds and Rose Pergola from the casual visitor who mistakes them for the outer walls along Kew Road.

This is easy to do as the small delicate flowers and tumbling water in the Rock Garden conspire to grab your attention and to keep you away from southern boundary.

Along the wall more flowers take advantage of the protection offered to show off their colours.

Passing through the gate is like entering a new world as a new garden, unlike anything else in Kew, is revealed.

The Rose Pergola tries to dominate the garden with its solid construction but the plants in the beds are just too demanding for that to happen. No one plot wins their beauty contest, it's the eclectic mix of flowers, vegetables and trees that makes this area so interesting.

And so ends another trip to Kew Gardens. A relatively short trip and one confined to just one part of the gardens and still it was one packed with variety and interest. Kew is special.

1 comment:

  1. Matthew, you've now put me to shame. I haven't been for a wander around Kew Gardens (that means not going to concerts or ice-skating and just wandering around in the daylight hours) for years. Another to-do on the list.


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