21 September 2014

The Last of the Summer Flowers at Kew Gardens (September 2014)

For various reasons beyond my control I missed out on Summer at Kew Gardens being unable to get there for a couple of months. When the opportunity came to get back there I leapt at the opportunity, though at 9am on a Sunday morning it was a rather leisurely leap.

There were some striking autumnal reds and oranges and oranges near where I live so I headed to Kew looking for more of the same. That meant entering at Lion Gate because that is the end of the garden that most of the trees are.

I quickly discovered that the trees were stubbornly green and that many flowers had taken advantage of the warm and dry September to keep showing off their colours.

From the Pagoda I took the long path towards the river, Cedar Vista, and that lead me past the little Waterlily Pond where I found this clutch of flowers making the most of the sunshine.

I cannot walk past the top of the lake without taking a picture of the view back down it, and this time was no exception. That's the Sackler Crossing in the distance.

It was about then that I remembered that the grasses would be out and so I changed direction and went down Syon Vista along the other side of the lake and back towards the Palm House.

I avoided the Palm House and went to the nearby Waterlily House instead which was impressively protected by an army of pink flowers. This shock of pink against the white and grey background was enough to make anybody pause to wallow in the scene.

Inside the Waterlily House was as pretty as ever. I took lots of pictures of the lilies but I have shared many of those pictures previously so this time I have selected one of the plants on the edge of the greenhouse that looked all the better, I felt, for having the rhythmic construction behind them.

The big surprise came when walking along the Broad Walk from the Waterlily House to the Orangery, where I was aiming to get a coffee and some cake (there are rules about these things).

The kidney-shaped beds on both sides of the wide path were thick with colour with each bed having its own theme. I came to Kew Gardens looking for falling leaves and found bright flowers instead.

I loved the planting of the beds. The thematic colours revealed the hand of man but the, apparently, haphazard arrangement gave them the appearance of wild gardens.

There were several such beds along the Broad Walk and I stopped to admire, and photograph, every one of them. Eventually they ran out and I was at the Orangery were I had my expected coffee and cake. A treat within a treat.

From there it was just a short walk to the unimaginatively, but accurately, named Grass Garden.

This is one of my favourite places in Kew (there is stiff competition) but it always seems to me that it does not get the attention that it deserves as it is somewhat out of the way in the south-east corner beyond the main path that links the main attractions. I do not mind that it is quiet there as it makes it more peaceful and makes it easier to take photographs but its still a shame that it is often overlooked.

From there I took the route through the walled garden with the Plant Family Beds; you can just see the top of the wall above the mysterious orange plants.

The final step was to try and leave the gardens at Victoria Gate. This was harder than before as the system had been changed to force leavers to exit through the shop rather than heading straight for the gate. I am not sure that this was a good idea as all it did was frustrate me a little and the short-cut through the cafe misses out most of the shop anyway.

I have ceased to be amazed at how good Kew Gardens is every time that I go there and have given up on expecting familiarity to breed contempt. Instead I just accept that it does not matter when I go there or where I walk when I do, there will always be plenty there for me to see.

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