Here’s to the best of 2017

We’ve reached the end of 2017 and in some ways it’s felt liked a long year, in another it’s like it passed by quicker than ever. I’ve been lucky to go to lots of amazing places this year with family and friends and I leave you with some of my favourite photos that I took. I hope 2018 is an amazing, blessed year for you and me and that the World is calmer, more peaceful and that ease comes to those experiencing hard times.

Happy New Year to all of you and thank you for taking an interest in my little world.

Yellow dazzle

Golden leaves

The weather has become colder as autumn settles in but what I always love about this season is how all the leaves turn from green to vivid shades of yellow, orange and red. With the bright sun shining through dazzling yellow leaves it brings a feeling of warmth, happiness and beauty almost as much as any flower.

Autumn has arrived

Summer has come to an end and Autumn has now arrived, here in England. Autumn is probably my favourite time of year, as the days are cool but still bright and there are less bugs around too which in my opinion is always good! The other things I love about Autumn are the beautiful displays of newly changed leaves, from luscious greens to fiery reds, yellows and oranges.

On one such bright a day, I decided to take a walk in one of the several parks near where I live. This particular park is lovely; it has a nice lake, a grand looking mansion with a pretty flower garden, and a boating and play area. Armed with my camera, I kept my eyes open for any new autumnal displays, and it wasn’t long before I came across lots.

The highlight of my walk was coming across some cute, late summer ducklings (I didn’t get too close in case their protective mother came after me) and several curious, cheeky squirrels who were very interested in my camera. I also loved seeing freshly fallen conkers reminding me of childhood fun-filled contests.

I really enjoyed my walk and as we go deeper into the season I’ll keep my eyes peeled for more interesting developments.

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

Kew Gardens – Autumn visit 3

At Kew Gardens one of the areas that was quite seasonal to the autum/winter period was the berry walk, with lots of different species of berries dotted about. I’m not sure if any were edible but they looked pretty in various colours and shades.

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I found it interesting how some berries look quite similar in colour and size but the leaves on the branches and bushes look quite different or didn’t have any at all

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I love the purple colour of these berries, which are called Callicarpa japonica and are not edible but can be used to make herbal tea which sounds interesting

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Walking around I also spotted that there were several types of mushrooms growing, mainly under trees where dead leaves and foliage can decompose in the moist air, nourishing and encouraging fungal growth. I was quite fascinated with them as I haven’t seen so many different types of mushrooms growing in nature, but at the same time I did feel quite grossed out so I didn’t get too close and relied on my zoom to get a better look

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I do quite like these ones though, the creases on the stem make it look like they have a wrapping around them

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One of the things I really liked at Kew was that although it is clear to see that plants and trees have been categorised according to types, species and even climate, British nature has found a way to join in, to become part of a particular area no matter where it comes from, such as mushrooms under pine trees or squirrels up Redwoods.

My other posts of Kew Gardens can be found on the links below
Kew Gardens part 1
Kew gardens part 2

Kew Gardens – Autumn visit

I recently went to Kew Gardens in West London; the last time I went was in school and I’d been meaning to go back ever since, especially as over the last couple of years there’s been some changes. For some reason or another I just wasn’t able to go, so a couple of weeks ago I decided not to wait anymore and just go. Initially I was a bit apprehensive about going in late autumn, as I imagined that most of the trees would have shed their leaves and there wouldn’t be much to look at, as well as the point that I always imagined going in late spring/early summer to see nature blossoming. In the end I decided to go anyway and see what there was to see, and learn from the experience.

I packed my DSLR camera to take with me and got there by mid morning. I was really lucky with the weather as it was nice and bright, and not grey and cloudy like it had been in previous days. I was also pleased to see that as we’ve had a mild autumn in London so far, most of the trees still had their leaves, and many were in now in brilliant shades of yellow, red and orange, which in the bright sun looked even more magnificent.

Here are a few of the photos that I was able to take whilst there, but what I didn’t realise was just how big the Gardens were- that after walking around for about 5 hours I still hadn’t managed to see all of it!

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Seeing as I managed to take lots of photos and because there’s was so much to see I’ve decided to do separate posts on different parts of Kew Gardens, this one being about the Palm House which houses plants from tropical and subtropical climates all over the world

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Here’s a banana tree with bananas growing from it, with leaves so big you could place two grown ups end to end and the leaves would still be bigger! There was also a pineapple plant – these pineapples were so tiny – the size of walnuts

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The walkways were full of leaves growing over it, giving you a an idea of how they would grow in their natural habitat

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There was a strange looking plant growing in the Palm House too called a Cycad, that is known as a living fossil. These plants have been around before dinosaurs, living up to 2500 years long!

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There is so much more to see but I don’t want to post too many photos of one area in case you want to visit the Gardens soon. I will hopefully be able to do another post soon on another part of Kew gardens