Impromptu visit to Kew

One of my favourite places in London is Kew Gardens, so when my sister and her husband invited me for an impromptu trip recently I couldn’t say no. Kew is known for having plants, trees and flowers from around the world, there’s so much to see and it’s a great place to get lost in for the day.

First stop was the Hive which is a large structure made of metal and has lights that blink according to bee activity in a real beehive at Kew.

You can’t go to Kew and not visit the Palm House, which holds tropical plants from around the world. It’s usually really hot in here and as usual I had to wait for my camera to de-fog before I could take some photos. One plant we were pleased to find was the Sensitive plant. When you touch the open leaves they react immediately and close together.

From there we went to the Waterlily House hoping to find the giant lily pads that I remember from my childhood but have missed on my previous visits. Unfortunately they’d been moved, so I’ll have to try again another time. I did, however see some pretty waterlily flowers though.

Next we went to the Woodland area, and with it being late summer and the weather unsettled we got caught in a heavy downpour, thankfully though we were able to shelter under a giant Elm tree until the rain stopped. The Woodland area had a great number of trees of all types, my favourite though were the Redwood trees. These giants have a reddish, rough grain trunk and can grow to a phenomenal size.

Walking further along came across a huge wooden table, which seems like it would be perfect for all my family when they come to dinner! And hidden nearby was a log trail that you could walk across, made up of different types of trees, so educational as well as fun. There was also a badger set and tunnels you could go into.

By the time we reached the log trail we’d made it to the far end of the grounds and it was getting late so we started heading back towards the gates. I had a relaxing, fun day out and it’s always a pleasure and a privilege to see the beautiful plants, trees and flowers that can be found around the world so close to where I live.

Red robin

Robin

During my trip to Kew a few years ago I was lucky enough to capture what I thought was a nice photo of a robin. On my trip back a couple of weeks ago I was really happy at managing to capture this image of the bird. I love seeing robins with their red breasts and it always makes my day when I spot one.

Orchids festival

Recently I took a trip to Kew Gardens with my last visit being a few years ago. I love Kew Gardens and all the different plants, trees and flowers it has from around the world. I can spent hours there and not lose interest or manage to see everything. My trip this time was to specifically see the Orchids Festival which celebrated the rich biodiversity of Brazil.

Upon entry of the conservatory there was a lovely floral scent and my eyes were drawn to the wide range of flowers in artistic displays hanging from the ceilings and wrapped around pillars. A very unusual plant that caught my eye was Nepenthes. Nepenthes is shaped like a pod and is insectivorous, meaning that it traps and digests insects. This plant was used to create shape and colour in archways to walk under.

The bright colours and the different shapes and sizes of the exotic flowers drew my attention and I found myself weaving along the path from one flower to another delighted that I was able to take a closer look.

The Orchid Festival was really popular and I would certainly recommend a visit. The flowers on show were beautiful in various, vibrant colours and really captured the theme of carnival season in Brazil.

Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015

Well, we’ve reached the end of 2014, and it’s been an interesting one for me, in terms of family related events and photo opportunities, both of which I hope have allowed me to grow in my skills and as a person. I would like to share below my favourite photos from this year, and to also wish you all a happy New Year wherever you are and whatever you decide to do to welcome in 2015. I hope its a happy, healthy adventurous 2015 for all of us

Greenhouse at dusk

green house
This greenhouse is called Temperate House and can be found at Kew Gardens. It is currently being restored and is closed off to the public but I like how it sits in this image with the pagoda almost a silhouette in the distance. The most arresting part of the image, for me though, is the cloud filled sky which was captured just as the sun was beginning to set, making it feel as if they could almost let off a light all of their own

Kew Gardens – Autumn visit 4

One of the things I was most excited about seeing at Kew Gardens was the Xstrata Treetop Walkway that was constructed a few years ago. The idea behind the walkway was to enable people to walk among the tree tops to get a closer look at the best part of the trees; the branches and leaves which aren’t usually easily accessible. Walking toward the structure it seems to appear suddenly from amongst the trees.

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To access the walkway you have to climb up a winding staircase with mesh sides, allowing you to see the view as you ascend. For those that can’t quite manage the stairs there’s also a lift that will take you to the top. The walkway is 59 feet high from where you get a great view

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I was able to get really close to some of the branches but as it was Autumn some of the closer trees had already shed their leaves. I expect the walkway is even more enjoyable in Summer when leaves are aplenty

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Another one of the other things I spotted almost immediatley as I entered the Gardens was this tall structure in the distance. I could tell straight away that it looked like a giant Pagoda like those found in Japan and wondered what it was doing in London!

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It turns out that the Pagoda was completed by Sir William Chambers in 1762 and that there is also a section dedicated to a Japanese landscape, with plants and flowers typically found in the country as well as a structure called the Chokushi-Mon meaning Gateway of the Imperial Messenger

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I thought the Japanese landscape was really nice and something different. I especially liked how tidy and organised it was (and if you look carefully you can see there is a circular pattern created in the pebbles)

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Kew Gardens, I saw some amazing plants, trees and flowers, some that don’t originate from England and learnt a lot whilst walking around, soaking in the fresh air and peace and quiet. I think the gardens are something really special and the thing I like most is that you could visit at various times over a twelve month period and there would always be something new or different to see. I really hope I will be able to go back later this year when the plants and flowers are in bloom and nature has something else to share.

I hope you have enjoyed my photos and there is still so much I didn’t see or haven’t posted about so please don’t think that I have covered even a fraction of what else can be found at Kew. I would definitely recommend a visit if you like being outdoors and are interested in all things green.

For more on Kew gardens please see my previous posts

Kew Gardens – Autumn Visit 1
Kew Gardens – Autumn Visit 2
Kew Gardens – Autumn Visit 3