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Wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, great-aunt and friend....and fur-kid mum I love Quilting, stitching, photography, cooking, baking, gardening, blogging and making new friends...stop by and say hi!

Monday 7 April 2014

Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew

A couple of years ago I watched a David Attenborough special which was filmed in Kew Gardens and wondered why I had never been there to visit so I popped it on my visit wishlist. The opportunity came while Miss M and I were in London for a few days before heading back home. Getting there is easy peasy....catch a tube on the District line towards Richmond.

It is short walk down a residential street from the station towards the Gardens.  From the minute I got off the train I had that feeling that I wished I lived here.  Gorgeous houses with equally gorgeous gardens and so close to the immense, wonderful gardens of Kew.

There is so much to see here, that is is hard to know where to start but we decided to head to the tropical Palm House first.
Walking into this overlarge greenhouse was like stepping back into Queensland.....muggy, muggy, muggy.  Immediately we had to strip jackets, scarves and push up our sleeves but what a wonderful array of tropical plants....mainly palms.  There was an aquarium in the basement which had tanks of tropical fish, and other creatures, both reef dwellers and mangrove dwellers. A wrought iron spiral staircase took you up to a viewing walk above the plants.

I thought we did really well staying in there for as long as we did.......I was just about ready to strip down to my singlet! How nice it was to step back outside and feel the cold bite into my cheeks again.

We decided to walk towards the treetop walk and even though there was lots that we wouldn't see today because of the time of year, like the rose gardens, the rhodedendrons and the azaleas, there was still plenty of natures beautiful blooms to see along the way.
on the ground
in the trees

The Treetop walk is a 200m long circular walkway, 18m off the ground giving great panoramic views of the park. There were 8 flights of stairs. I counted as I puffed my way up them. It would be lovely in summer when all the trees are lush with leaves but actually I am starting to like these bare trees.
We also got a birdseye view of the Temperate House just below and a view of the Pagoda through the trees.  We didn't get to the Pagoda as it was in the opposite direction of where we were visiting in the park today.  There are 121 hectares of gardens here.  An awful lot to discover in one day.
We decided to stay around the area closest to the Victoria Gate which is where we entered the gardens. The Temperate House was closed for renovations so we could not go in there but we got a surprise very close by near the Greek Garden when we spotted this lovely chap sunning himself.
He was not really interested in showing off those magnificent tail feathers but he did let me get close enough for a lovely head shot.
 We decided to walk towards Kew Palace but got distracted by the lure of orchids on display at the Princess of Wales Conservatory. They were spectacular in all shapes, sizes and colours. One one of the walkways I spotted something unusual.  At first I thought it was fake but it moved and I realised it was a real, live, vibrant green South American iguana living quite happily among these gorgeous blooms and quite undeterred by all the visitors.  We couldn't manage to get a photo of him because of the number of interested people gathered.
Once again, there were aquarium displays of the typical fish and amphibia to be found in areas supporting these kind of plants.  So we saw pirannah, who refused to show us their ferocious pearly whites and even the deadly Poison Dart Frog.  Luckily they were in glass tanks so we were quite safe.

We were feeling rather hungry by now and set off to find the Orangery Restaurant for some lunch. On the way we came across a fairy ring of mushrooms - with a difference.
These mushrooms were giants, most of them taller than we were, and woven out of willow twigs. They were fascinating and we spent a great deal of time here taking photos and wandering amongst them. I just loved the idea for this art installation and what a great spot to install it.
After lunch at the Orangery, we walked towards the Alpine House, which for some reason, was very prominent in my memory from Sir David's programme. It seemed much smaller in real life but I loved seeing the teeny tiny little plants growing here. Those yellow flowers in the middle were incredibly small but oh-so-pretty!
By now we had well and truly walked away from  and forgotten about Kew Palace but we were getting tired and decided to skip that one.  We would  walk through the Woodland Garden instead and make our way back towards Victoria Gate. I was really hoping to see some bluebells. I have a vague memory of picking bluebells in the woods when I was a young child (don't try it these days) and I have always loved them. I didn't see any here today. Just the usual snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils.
I was so glad we came to Kew today.  It was a fabulous day out and we didn't even cover half of what you can see here. I imagine it would be absolutely spectacular in the summer months.  I might not cross it off my wishlist just yet and visit here again if I can manage it in summer.  Imagine the roses!
Oh yes, I dearly would love to live on the street leading up to Victoria Gate, Kew Gardens.  I just have to win the lotto!



  1. Those mushrooms were brilliant!!! Probably even more so in person. Thanks so much for sharing. Winning the Lotto is on my 'to do' list too! Hugs!deb

  2. thats gorgeous... I must try and go there ....one day

  3. Hello Cath,

    Thanks for sharing, I just love the work involved in those mushrooms.

    Happy Monday.

  4. Oh you lucky thing visiting Kew Gardens and those mushrooms are just spectacular!

  5. What a beautiful peacock! Stunning plumage. Love the carpets of flowers too. You have really seen some lovely things this trip even though it was winter.

  6. hey groovy photo's, love the spiral staircase...would love to touch that!! lol. Incredible flowers
    and that peacock is stunning (love the blue colour in him). Cool mushies, someone is very
    talented.What a grand building in the background too. Keep enjoying that holiday.
    Cheers, Anita.

  7. I love those mushrooms-too cool. what an amazing place to visit-thank you so much for the beautiful photos-really enjoyed this post-

  8. oh, I think that Kew Gardens will have to go onto my wishlist too, now. Gorgeous blooms. Thank you so much for taking me there.


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