25 July 2015

Kew Gardens (25 July 15)

My visits to Kew Gardens are becoming slightly less frequent simply because of the other pressures on my time but it remains one of my favourite places to go to escape from things for a while. It has the advantages of being peaceful (i.e. no traffic), attractive and changing so that no two visits are the same.

I normally go to Kew Gardens on a Sunday morning, as soon as they open (and I regret that the opening time has gone back from 9:30 to 10) but other things happening that weekend meant that Saturday was a better options. Obviously I was not going to get up early on a Saturday so I did the usual home things first, like buying bread and cheese, before heading to Kew.

This time I was mainly interested in getting some walking done (counting steps had become a healthy obsession) and Kew Gardens has lots of different paths through it to choose. I was also planning to have lunch there so I knew that I would end up at the Orangery at some point.

I entered via Lion Gate, the first gate that you come to from Richmond, as that gave me the most options for a longish walk. I was not sure where I would head from there and was content, as always, to be pulled in any direction by what attracted me at that moment.

I started with the Japanese Landscape which was the first obviously designed garden that you get to from Lion Gate. Obviously all of Kew Gardens is designed and managed but a lot of it, especially the woodlands at the south end, are designed to look natural with no structures or straight lines.



The Japanese Landscape looks like a simple garden and, for me, that is the beauty of the design. The greys and the greens work very well together and there is a nice balance between the carefully chosen rocks and the more formal bridge and raking.



The Treetop Walkway was my next destination. Despite my fear of heights, I am never comfortable up there, I find it a compelling place to go because of the experience of being at that height out in the open and among the trees.

There are also some great views from up there and I was interested to see the renovation works on the Temperate House. At ground level these are hidden behind hoardings so it was nice to get up high and look down over them. It is going to be a long wait but I am looking forward to it opening again in a few years.



Of course the other main glasshouse, the Palm House, is still open and I found myself there after taking a very circuitous route that included the Bamboo Garden and the Rhododendron Dell. I like the Palm House but I like the Parterre in front of it even more.



And even more than that I love the Waterlily House close by.

This had been replanted earlier in the year and was busily growing back to maturity. On my previous visit it had looked fairly empty but this time that water was covered with lilypads and the plants around the edge of the glass had grown up a little.

This had been a typical visit to Kew with a delightful mix of environments to be in and things to see there.

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