1 September 2013

Kew Gardens Highlights (1 September 2013)

Fine weather on a Sunday morning drove me back to Kew Gardens for a walk among the wild things.

As usual when heading to Kew for a walk, rather than to see something specific, I entered via Lion Gate in the south-east corner. The way in is actually via a door, this door, and it was shut when I arrived just ahead of the official opening time of 09:30.

I much prefer to get in to Kew Gardens early if I can as that means that the gardens are a lot quieter, which is kind of the point in going to somewhere natural. It also means that I can get home in good time for lunch leaving a fair chunk of the day free for the things that need doing; things like the ironing and writing up my visit to Kew Gardens!

The other reason for going in at Lion Gate is the choices that it gives with paths leading ahead towards the woodlands and the river, right past the Temperate House or diagonally past the Pagoda where more paths give more options.

The Japanese Garden is not far from Lion Gate. It is very distinctive with the grey rocks and gravel, neatly trimmed bushes and temple on the top of the small hill. It is meant to install a sense of peace, and it does.

It is not far from there to the Rhizotron and Xstrata Treetop Walkway which provides a completely different sort of experience. The aim here is to get in amongst the trees to see their active parts, the leafs and fruits.

Previously I've shown views from the walkway so this time I thought I would show the walkway itself and the way that it wanders through the trees. It also gives a better idea of how fragile the walkway looks and why it is very brave of the vertiginous of us to go up there.

Back on the ground the Sackler Crossing across the lake is a more substantial construction and holds no fears despite the open nature of its sides. And, like the walkway, it also offers up some great views.

I find it very hard to walk past the Waterlily House without going in and had no reason for ignoring the temptation this time. I've chosen this picture because it shows flowers, lily-pads and, reflected in the water, the construction of the roof.

Kew Gardens has several missions and education is one of them. The Broad Walk is now home to several large fungi to show visitors their form and variety. They are also visually appealing and it is hard to take pictures of them without playful children in the way.

I have said before that the Princess of Wales Conservatory is not one of my favourite places and that is why I had not been there for some months. This seemed like a good time to go back.

Approaching from the north, after a regulation coffee in the Orangery, I was rewarded with this view. It is true that the sunflowers were well past their best but that was part of their charm and they played as important role in the composition of the picture as the angles of the Conservatory behind them.

Inside the Conservatory was a confusion of greenery that was contemptuous of the people trying to walk past.

It is the strangest building in Kew and I've yet to find an optimal route through its myriad zones and levels. Each zone has a different climate and different plants so I try to go through all of them.

One area that I always pass is the small pond, in the large central zone, which is the focal-point of the Conservatory and where most visitors congregate. I was rather surprised to see this little fellow sunning himself there. He stood very still for me as I took his picture, I just wish that the peacocks would do that too!

The Parterre outside the Palm House is always worth a look due to the pretty shapes of colours made by plants. Usually these plants are flowers but the flowers have had to cede their place to vegetables as part of this Summer's IncrEdibles event. The vegetables are, I think, as pretty as the flowers and their is more variety in their shapes.

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