Inspired by my run through Kensington Gardens, I decided to take the train out to Kew Gardens. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Kew Gardens are considered one of the best gardens in the world. They cover hundreds of acres, and I could have spent all day there -- as it was, I only had time to just scratch the surface. Seeing these gardens makes me want to plan a garden-hopping trip to England to see all the best gardens in the palaces and country houses.
|The line was way longer than I expected|
|The gardens have a series of giant glass houses dedicated to different types of plants.|
This was the Palm House.
|First thing you see in the palm house? A palm that is older than the US and the French Revolution.|
The plant was added to the Kew Gardens in 1775.
|Throughout the gardens, I tried to soak up the richness and variety of the plantings.|
I really love the plantings en masse with such different textures, colors and shapes.
|A waterfall in the Rock Garden.|
|The Water Lily House was the highlight for me.|
|Hard to get a sense of scale, but if you're in any doubt, those things are HUGE! Probably a good 3-4 feet diameter.|
|They're a type of giant water lily from the Brazilian Amazon. Discovered and first brought back|
during Victoria's reign. This one is actually a hybrid bred onsite with another lily from
Peru -- otherwise the pads would be so large they'd overwhelm the pool.
|The variegation and star-shaped petals made these super interesting.|
|This was the plant-family section -- each bed had a bunch of varieties of plants all in the same family.|
|Peonies! The plants themselves aren't interesting without the flowers, but look at the framework|
of branches -- the plants grow up through the basket-like supports, which give structure to keep the plants
upright once they get tall and are laden with heavy blooms.
|Is there anything lovelier than a calla?|
|Cacti in one of the greenhouses|
|Kew Palace is clearly a side-note here.|
|So, the garden map promised a greenhouse full of "climbers and creepers", which I assumed meant vines.|
Not so -- it was the playground. Boo.
|The giant trees, and the tall uncut grass, had a lovely, almost wild feeling.|
|Vast expanses of parkland to offset the formality of the planted gardens.|