16 June 2013

The highs and lows of Kew Gardens (June 2013)

The original plan was to take advantage of the early opening for members and to get to Kew Gardens in time for opening at 8:30. Instead I overslept mightily and got there around 10:30.

The lateness helped me to decide to enter via Lion Gate as that is the quietest part of the gardens.

The trees were in full leaf and the undergrowth was in rude health so wandering around on the random grass paths was a joy. The joy of being among wild untamed trees and grasses.

The purpose of exploration is to find new things, not to get somewhere, and I like exploring new paths in Kew. There were several times that I found myself on a path that I had not travelled before, and that is quite some achievement given how many times I have been there.

Kew Gardens has several places-to-go and the Treetop Walkway is one of them.

I wanted to go there, despite being unsettled by the height, the way it sways in the slightest breeze and the increasing number of places where the flooring pings as you walk over it, because it does what it is meant to do and takes you in among the leaves.

And here are lots of different types of leaves crowded together.

This was taken on the north side of the walk looking toward Brentford. Looking above these trees I could see some unimpressive tower blocks on the other side of the river and, behind them, a glimpse of the Wembley Arch. That was interesting to see but the trees were better.

Moving round to the south I had an excellent view of the Temperate House. It will be out of action for a couple of years for a substantial refurbishment so for a while the best views of it will be of the outside.

Moving on from the walkway I vaguely headed towards the west end of the lake only to find myself at the east end.

One of the main avenues runs alongside the lake from the Palm House to the river. A line of daisies show where a pipe runs beneath the avenue also heading for the river.

The daisies were some of the first flowers that I saw that day, most flowers keep away from the woods, but I was after the more colourful and grander flowers in Rhododendron Dell.

Some of the flowers were well past their best, and they were not even out on my last visit in April.

Thankfully there were still enough in bloom to put on a decent display and my walking pace slowed markedly as I paused to take a few photos. Altogether I took around fifty photos which is about half my usual number and that is as good a measure as any of the absence of flowers and the dullness of the weather.

Further on the Azaleas were even limper and the Rose Garden behind the Palm House had just a few spots of colour.

On days like this, and I have had days like this, my meanderings around Kew are driven by the most interesting thing in view at that moment. And having got there I walk to the next interesting place irrespective of direction. That way I see lots of interesting things and have fun getting lost too.

I'll end on this bright note even though I have no idea what these flowers are or where I found them. Not that I care about either. The walk and the beauty is what I get from Kew Gardens and I do not need to add labels to them.

As with every visit to Kew Gardens, it ended with me thinking about the next one. Perhaps I will manage to make one of the early starts or perhaps one of the late openings will be easier.

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