24 May 2015

Gardens in Kew and then Kew Gardens

The National Gardens Scheme (NGS) is a great way to see some different gardens and to give money to charity while doing so. There are a few local gardens that I try to get to each year and these include a few on the river at Kew that open together.

The houses are on the north side of Kew Green, just east of Ferry Lane, and their gardens stretch all the way back to the towpath, which is how we got in to them.

There were five gardens open, 65 to 73 Kew Green, which meant plenty to see.

There were some similarities between the gardens which was understandable as they were all long and thin and were bounded by brick walls. Somewhere in every garden, normally close to the house, was a pretty border set against the wall.

Each garden also had a long path or two running through it. These were paved, gravel, grass or mulch and were straight or winding, often in the same garden. Whatever their shape or construction of the paths they all struggled to cope with the large number of visitors to the gardens.

The large number of people meant that I usually had to wait a while to take pictures like these with nobody in them.

All of the gardens were split into zones, which is the obvious thing to do with long gardens, and several of them had wild sections. I like wild gardens.

Some of the gardens also found space for orchards and vegetable plots as well as formal gardens, lawns and Summer houses.

The plants and trees were the main features in all of the gardens and there was little in the way of formal ornamentation. There was some, of course, but one small water feature like this one could easily get lost in a long garden.

The final garden was the narrowest and there was no room for the borders that the others had so this was the garden chosen to host the teas and cakes. There were chairs spread the length of the garden but all these were in use when I wanted a cup of tea and the queue to get served was quite long. Too long for me to wait so I headed for a cafe nearby,

That cafe was the Orangery in Kew Gardens. The main gate, now called Elizabeth Gate, was off Kew Green so it was a short walk to get there and another short walk once inside to get to the Orangery.

That walk took me past this bold planting on what looks like a roundabout, i.e. a large circular thing at the junction of two paths. I had always liked the display there and it certainly brightened up the otherwise unattractive wide tarmac path that leads from the main gate.

Once I had had my tea and cake there was time to enjoy Kew Gardens itself and I took a scenic route (all the routes are scenic) to Victoria Gate. That meant passing the impressive Palm House and the equally impressive planting of the Parterre in front of it. This is the iconic view of Kew Gardens and one that still excites me on every visit there.

Sundays were invented for seeing beautiful and interesting gardens like these.

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