25 November 2012

Kew Gardens on a sunny November morning

The sunshine pulled me out of bed at some ridiculously early hour for a Sunday morning, it was before 9am, and made me go to Kew Gardens.

The 65 bus helped me on my way and threw me out at Kew Bridge so that I could go in to the gardens through the main gate on Kew Green, which is now called the Elizabeth Gate.

Getting in was a problem at first but was soon resolved when I showed my Kew Membership Card rather than the the National Trust card that I had tried to get in with.

Just inside the gate is the Conservatory. I do not know what it was originally used for, now it is occasionally home to works of art and at the moment that means one of the pieces in the David Nash collection that is littered across the gardens.

Turning right takes you to a hidden lake and another interesting glasshouse that I also know nothing about. This one is more interesting architecturally so it's a shame that visitors are not allowed in there.

From the lake decisions had to be made and I chose to go for an extended walk roughly following the river with the intention of then heading towards Lion Gate and home.

After crossing the top of the lake I took the Cedar Vista towards the Pagoda, this is the longest of the seven vistas that radiate out from there.

Along the way I paused at the Waterlily Pond simply because it is very pretty. Obviously the peacocks think so too and they are usually found in that area. There were a couple on the bank but I preferred to take pictures of the magnificent grasses.

The walk was going so well that I changed my plans and instead of continuing on to Lion Gate I turned left again and went along the Pagoda Vista towards the Palm House.

I rarely walk along the Vistas because they are usually too full of people so it was a treat to find them empty. Going fairly early on a cold day helped.

As did the persistent rain over the last few months that drove most people on to the drier tarmac paths.

I took a slight detour from the Vista to walk through the Temperate House.

This is my favourite building in Kew, despite some fierce competition, and it would be ridiculous to be near and not go in. First though, I had a good look at it from the outside as the architecture is stunning. All greenhouses should look like this. Sadly my garden is not quite up to it.

Inside the greenhouse is being refreshed and replanted so there are changes to see on every visit. At the moment it is looking a little bare due to the work that is going on.

Surprisingly it also boasts some of the very few colours on display in late November. And most of those colours were orange, like these.

From there there it was a short walk, back along the Vista, to Victoria Plaza where they have cleverly placed a coffee bar with cakes ready to trap the weary walkers, like myself. As always, I consoled myself that these were not unnecessary calories but a way of giving thanks to the Gardens by making another small financial donation.

I had started my walk at the Main Gate (about 1pm on the clock) and had walked anti-clockwise close to the edge of the gardens all the way round to Victoria Gate (3pm).

Walked at pace, and not stopping too often for distractions, Kew Gardens seemed surprisingly small. I spent around 90 minutes walking around most of it, on other days I've spent that long in one greenhouse. Such is the magic of Kew that is can expand and contract space and time to suit the needs of each visitor's mood and intent.

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