On Friday I awarded myself an unscheduled day off and joined a friend for a walk around Kew Gardens. The weather was not fine, as predicted by the morning forecasts (no surprise there, today’s high-tech meteorological meta-analyses are rarely more than in the general ball-park). Drizzly showers came and went, grim clouds loomed – but the sun broke through often enough to make it a very pleasant few hours.
My friend is a member at Kew and knows her way around, and we were aiming for a walk of up to 3 miles. We entered by Lion Gate and very effectively avoided the queues (useful tip, that). Within a few minutes we got our first view of the Pagoda. See the glowering clouds? The Pagoda was completed in 1762 and is undergoing a bit of restoration over the coming months, so it’s not open at present.
We wandered… Foliage… water… lovely.
No idea what this structure is going to be when it’s finished, but it looks interesting.
A nice view down towards the River Thames.
A very ancient oak tree – apparently a favourite for people who come to meditate beneath its boughs.
Another tree (you can tell I’m not an arboriculturist, can’t you?) Not so ancient, but well-dressed nonetheless.
After a break for coffee (and to dodge a rain shower) at The Orangery, we came upon one of Kew’s new features for this summer. The Great Broad Walk Borders is a truly stunning layout of garden flowers interspersed with seating areas. True, it would have benefitted from a blast of sunshine, but you can’t have everything.
Half way down The Great Broad Walk, we came across another of Kew’s newer installations – The Hive – an intriguing and enormous metal frame representation of a beehive, designed into a meadow environment and meant to teach us all about bees. We listened to a talk about how they communicate about where to find the best flowers, then took the meadow walkway up into the fascinating structure.
Children in particular were loving the chance to look down through the glass floor.
A final look at the borders from the meadow and our walk took us further on, past the Palm House with its precision planting…
And the Japanese Garden and Gateway…
Which afforded another nice glimpse of the Pagoda…
Before we found Lion Gate again and… home.
I just went to walk, but Kew Gardens is a lovely day out, with plenty for all the family from seriously horticultural stuff, to entertainments for children, treetop walkways, installations, sculptures and much more. They’re great at continually updating, finding different ways to engage. In early summer they do outdoor concerts, and I’ve also enjoyed their winter illuminated walk too. Worth a visit if you like your greenery!