6 July 2012

Kew Gardens in June (2012)

The Pagoda is one of the (many) icons in Kew Gardens and seemed a good place to start my latest romp through the gardens. This time I was celebrating my new annual membership which I now pay by direct debit so I guess I'll be staying a member for a few years yet.

From the Pagoda it is a short stroll to probably my favourite place in Kew Gardens, the Temperate House.

The Victorian architecture is just sumptuous and it's the perfect home for the exotic plants inside.

It is having some necessary work done at the moment and is changing slightly as a result.

For one thing it is now much more open along the corridor that runs north-south through the five sections of the greenhouse.

Leaving at the north end takes you past a neat corridor of trees and on to a raised garden where you can sit and look back at the magnificent building that you have just left.

Rested, it's another short walk from there to the Palm House where you approach it from the rear. This is where the Rose Garden is hidden.from the majority of visitors who troop dutifully by the lake which, to be fair, is usually prettier.

The Rose Garden has also had work done recently and the last time I was there it was marred by colourful plastic fencing.

It was also the wrong time of the year but this time all the work had finished and the roses were in fine spirit.

As with most of Kew, the roses are grown for a purpose rather than pure beauty so rather than being arranged and trimmed formally the colours and shapes are all mixed up and every plant is different.

The result is individually beautiful flowers that combine to make a naturally beautiful Rose Garden. More benches let you rest and take it all in before moving on to the next delight.

And that is the Waterlily House.

This is also often overlooked as it is a little greenhouse dwarfed by the far grander Palm House and it is also set back a little from the main path as if wishing to avoid attention.

Inside the waterlilies were in flower too though, very much unlike the roses, there were just one or two flowers for each plant and these were often small and well away from the edge.

And finally back to the Palm House.

Arrayed across the front is a line of heraldic animals. This one looks suitably noble and stern but it must be said that the one on the south end looks too much like Scooby Doo for comfort.

The final step of the journey is to Victoria Gate where a latte and a slice of cake wait for me before the 65 comes to whisk me home.

And that's how I like to do Kew Gardens; frequently and for just a couple of hours each time.

With several entrances and exits to choose from, so much to see inside and the changing face of the seasons, each visit is different and has the same exciting sparkle of discovery as the very first one.

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