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.

Sky Garden

I heard about the Sky Garden in London last summer and was finally able to go with a friend. I wasn’t too sure what to expect as I’d heard mixed reviews, but I kept an open mind and stayed optimistic as it sounded like quite an usual place. On arrival there was a thorough security search before we were ushered into the lift which took us up to the 25th floor. Walking into the Sky Garden reminded me of a giant greenhouse, and despite the grey skies of the morning it felt light and airy. The room had lots of greenery as a backing to the room, and as guides to different levels.

On each level there was a café or restaurant giving you the chance to stop for a drink or snack and to enjoy the great view of the various landmarks across the city.

As the rain cleared we were allowed out onto the outdoor viewing platform, with a view to the River Thames below and the Shard in front.

London landmarks

We took our time walking around the various levels, taking photographs and just enjoying the greenery and view without feeling rushed. It’s place that I would definitely visit again (maybe on a sunnier day) as it’s free and although there were plenty of people around it didn’t feel noisy or too busy.

Hewitts Farm

As we head into late summer here in the UK my family and I went down to Hewitts ‘pick your own’ farm in Kent. I haven’t been for a number of years but its a trip we made every summer when my siblings and I were kids. There are rows and rows of apple and plum trees, and acres of various vegetables. Back then there was also a tractor with haybales to tow you around from one end of the farm to the other.

Hewitts Farm

This time there were several vegetables and fruits ripe and ready to be picked.

A trip to the farm usually means lots of walking, bending and stretching which can be exhausting but taking in the view and clean air as you go is just what you need. Also what could be more rewarding than being able to sample what you picked yourself, which we did and really enjoyed.

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.

Garden strawberries

strawberries

I recently posted about the flowering strawberry plants that I have in my garden this year, and with the warmer weather they’ve now begun bearing fruit. There’s only a few ripe ones at a time but it’s satisfying to check them regularly and see if there’s any that can be picked.

Trip to the garden centre

Every year in early Spring my mum visits our local garden centre to buy a range of plants for our garden, this year I happened to have a few days of work so decided to tag along. There was a wide range of flower and vegetable plants to choose from.

There were also some interesting garden ornaments; I love the giant chess pieces and the elephants and cheeky gnomes would make a nice addition to any garden too. I was also intrigued to see the old fashioned styled brooms made of straw.

We got a little carried away and it was hard to not buy at least one of everything, but in the end we chose some strawberry and pepper plants and and variety of flowers so we have a range of treats for the eyes and tastebuds to look forward to.

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