17 December 2011

Kew Gardens (December 2011)

After a spell of disappointing weekends the sun finally came out and dragged me back to Kew Gardens.

It was cold too, which is good for me too as it kept the less hardy away and made it easier to get around and to take photographs without bright red or yellow coats in them.

Sitting on the top deck of the 65 I decided to go in via Victoria Gate prompted by the desire to keep away from the woodland areas that were keeping the sunlight and sunwarmth at bay.

Heading east (away from the trees) took me past the large (and strangely unnamed) water that separates the Palm House from the exhibition centre. Here the people are very obvious by their absence as it is normally impossible to take a picture here without inappropriate clothing featuring in it somewhere.

I may have been braver than some in facing the cold but the thought of being indoors was still tempting so I made the short walk to the Princess of Wales Conservatory.

It is my least favourite of the Kew greenhouses because it is not Victorian and does not have an upper walkway but it does have an elegant geometric roof that hints at the different areas and levels underneath it.

I still find it confusing inside which is how I found myself next to some small water features in a corner on a lower level that I am certain that I had not see before.

The large water feature I see every time, though this is a place where it is especially hard to avoid people. And children. The water can be appreciate from several angles and I took this picture from the ramp that bisects the water as it takes you between the two levels.

The waterlillies are always impressive in their roundness and I like the way that the straight lines from the reflections of the roof challenge that orthodoxy.

A similar contrast can be found in one of the small rooms that cluster in the north-east corner.

There is no roundness here but the bold straight lines of these plants burst from points whereas the construction has parallel lines and squares.

I was pleasantly surprised at how many of the orchids in the greenhouse were in flower providing unusual colours for the season.

A reminder that this greenhouse comes into its own early in the year when the orchids are in full strength.

Elsewhere bananas were thriving and other large leafed plants had take advantage of the reduced number of visitors to try and reclaim some of the walkways by shooting across them.

Venturing outside again via the east exit I headed to the grass garden nearby and I hope that this picture shows why.

The variety and profusion of grasses here is a joy. They look like a crowd at a concert or in a night club having a marvellous time swinging to the music borne by the wind.

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