22 May 2016

An early stroll through Kew Gardens (22 May 16)

I have been a member of Kew Gardens for several years and have taken advantage of that membership to go as frequently as I can. Most of my visits have been first thing on Sunday mornings to see as much of the garden as possible

Now membership has got even better with the gardens opening at 8am for members, a full two hours before the general public is allowed in. Enjoying the gardens when they are quiet has got a lot easier.

It was the right time of year to visit the Alpine Gardens as a lot of the plants were in bloom.

The large waterfall (there are several) in the Alpine Gardens is the main physical feature there and it has its own viewing platform to appreciate it from. I do that often but this is a pleasure best not shared and the absence of people walking and talking meant there were no distractions from the falling water.

This is possibly the best place to be during the early openings.

I took this picture to show off the pretty roof line of the Princess of Wales Conservatory and the way that it sits easily with the trees around it.

I still prefer the older glasshouses and am counting down the days until the Temperate House opens again in 2018, meanwhile the Princess of Wales Conservatory is doing an admiral job and I find myself going there quite often. I have yet to find an easy route through it, and that is one of its charms.

At times it felt like the opening scenes of 28 Days Later with nobody to be seen in places that are normally bustling with activity. This is the Sackler Crossing devoid of people.

I prefer to go on the Treetop Walkway when it is quiet because  I can take it at my own pace and not worry about other people trying to get past me as I pause to look at something. It is not that wide and my caution of heights means that I prefer to walk sedately down the middle so anything which disturbs my progress makes me a little edgy.

There were no such problems on this morning as the only other group up there with me were well in front of me and were on the way back down before I had got half way round. Being alone meant being more comfortable and more able to appreciate the trees, which is why the walkway is there.

Returning towards Victoria Gate I walked around the Temperate House (under reconstruction) and onto Pagoda Vista, named for obvious reasons. This is one of the three main vistas that form a triangle around the lake and they are normally too full of people for me to be tempted to use them. Not this day.

The early openings at Kew Gardens are a very big enhancement to an already good deal. Membership now qualifies as a "no brainer".

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