12 October 2011

A short walk in Kew

Sunday afternoon I fancied a walk to clear out some cobwebs accumulated over a week of work and early mornings watching rugby. Rather than just go around the block where I live I decided to go to Kew Gardens.

That's what the convenience of an annual membership card does.

A decision had to be made on the 65 bus and I chose Victoria Gate more or less by default. The original aim was to head to the main gate on Kew Green but plans change. Often..

Just inside the gate are the Palm House with the lake and parterre in front.

The temptation is always to head that way but I was looking for open spaces and exercise rather than busy areas and flowers so I headed behind the Palm House instead.

But I am not that immune to temptation to not turn back to see the magnificent building peering imperiously through a wide gap in the hedge that arcs around it and the rose garden.

That gap is the start of a long boulevard that heads almost due west and directly to the river.

And with no people in the way. This is the kind of place that I like to walk.

It's Autumn but most of the trees here are still desperately clinging on to their leaves, no doubt encouraged by the recent (if short) spell of warm weather than had us all reaching for our t-shirts again.

This was the first change of plan. A quick check of the map on the Kew Gardens iPhone app confirmed that there was little of interest between here and the main gate that I had not seen recently so I decided to head for the Lion Gate instead.

Hidden just behind the trees on the right is the large lake with the curvaceous Sackler Crossing bisecting it and that's where I headed.

The lake, like the rest of the garden, was refreshingly peaceful despite the efforts of some of the birds who refused to keep still.

There were even some youngsters, possibly the offspring of confused parents mistaking a late Summer for an early Spring.

The Lion Gate plan did not last long and as I crossed the bridge I decided to head back to Victoria Gate.

The Palm House that I dismissed so callously earlier would not be denied. And rightly so, it is a magnificent building.

From the outside it's the jelly mould shape that appeals but once inside the detail of the iron work is more apparent as are the smaller shapes within the larger whole.


Empty, this would be a wonderful building but stuffed full of impossibly tall and green plants it becomes ridiculously astounding. How did I ever think that I could walk past it without going in?

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