29 November 2015

Glasshouses in Kew Gardens

It was a grey Sunday morning in Kew Gardens with strong winds and the threat to rain so going to some of the glasshouses seemed like a good idea. The four of us had our own favourite glasshouses which meant that we ended up going to all four of them (the fifth, the Temperate House, was closed for extensive refurbishment).

We started at the Princess of Wales Conservatory, for no particular reason. I am still ambivalent about it but there is nothin wrong with the way that it looks from the Alpine Garden.

The main feature of the Princess of Wales Conservatory is the large pond in the large central section. Another feature is the confusing paths that run through the various sections and levels and it was no surprise to see a small girl running around looking for the rest of her family; she found them with a bit of help.

We went to the Alpine House next as it was close by. I do not really go for the small Alpine plants inside the glasshouse but I do love the architecture of the building. I am sure that there is a good reason why a glasshouse that is full of small rock-hugging plants needs to be so tall, but I have no idea what it is.

The Waterlily House is (probably) my favourite place in Kew Gardens and it was on my insistence that we went there next. This time the grey day was an advantage as the place was fairly quiet and I was able to take photographs like this one with no people in them.

Our final stop was the grandest, the Palm House. The architecture of the building always delights me, as do the large tropical plants inside it.

The best way to appreciate both the architecture of the glasshouse and the scale of the plants is to climb up to the upper walkway where the two elements collide beautifully.

After some good soup in the cafe at Victoria Gate I stretched my legs a little and went to see the profession of red berries along Holly Walk and to risk the blustery winds on the Tree Top Walkway, which went to prove that even on a grey and windy day in November there is still plenty to see and do in Kew Gardens.

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