The youngest of us, Amy aged , had got a decent camera for Christmas and was looking for an opportunity to try it out. As they were all coming to our house in Ham it made sense to go to Kew which is approximately half way. Helping the idea were our Kew membership cards that let us each take one extra person in for free. That means that just the other seven people had to pay.
I went to Kew by bus and go there a little earlier than planned so killed some time by walking around Kew Green. This is unfairly split by the main road leaving the cricket pitch on one side and the pond on the other. I took the long route around the pond and took a picture of it, and the aptly named Pond House, as I went.
Years ago I released a mouse I caught in a humane trap in my house there but there was no sign of it this time.
The necessary time filled, I headed to Elizabeth Gate where I met the rest of the family once they had found somewhere to park their BMWs.
Some of them had not been to Kew Gardens before and none had been recently so I took them on a tour of the main sites, starting with the Princess of Wales Conservatory and then, probably the mainest site of all, the Palm House.
It always looks magnificent and on this day it was the grey building set against the grey sky that caught my attention.
It would have been easy to overlook the Waterlily House but I was a good guide and made sure that they saw this too. Having been replanted not that long ago the vegetation had already reclaimed most of the building, in the nicest possible way.
We walked around it slowly, the central pond in circular, and I paid more attention to the planting around the edge than I normally do. I was impressed, as I often am in Kew, with the variety of plants that can be easily overlooked with a casual look.
Going to the Treetop Walkway was somebody else's idea. It was further into the gardens than I had expected to do an also I was aware that some of them were much less good at heights than I am. This was quickly obvious when two of the young men refused to even try walking up there and reinforced when their dad gave up half way up the triangular staircase. That still left one of the nervous people in the group and he made it successfully to the top and all the way around.
From there it was a nice walk back to the Orangery to collect the oldest member of the group who had been left there with a coffee and a son for comfort before heading home for a late lunch.
Plans were then made to bring the young photographer back to Kew Gardens when the orchid festival is on as that is a fabulous time to take lots of colourful pictures. I'll do the same.