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.

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.

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.

Pink buds and blossoms

pink buds
I love seeing blossoms and buds emerging on trees to signal that Spring has arrived and nature has started afresh. I especially like this combination of colours; pink, white and green with the blue sky as a backdrop which makes for a pretty picture

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.

IMG_2363 -small

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

IMG_2378 -small

IMG_2389 -small

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

IMG_2373 -small

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!

IMG_2406 - small

IMG_2438 - small

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

IMG_2424 -small

IMG_2440 -small

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