Eternal gratitude for the great good luck I had in the June weather this year when I was in England. Being able to visit gardens there was a long-time dream come true for me. The only thing that could have made it better would have been if Mick the Cactus had been able to visit Kew with me. Mick has his own report on Kew, begun in 2011 and added to since then. He is a much more responsible reporter than I, plus it's wonderful that anyport gets photos of Kew in different seasons. His report is here.
I went by train from Kensington Olympia station to Kew Gardens Rail station, a trip that pinged on every fiber of my little Anglophiliac heart. "It looks so English!", I kept saying to myself. The train station where I disembarked did nothing to dispel that feeling ~
There are a line of shops just outside the station, with this one the first you see, simply crammed with desirable stuff. I suppose they know many people will come back this way, starry-eyed with garden plans, although perhaps bearing treasures purchased at Kew's own gorgeous garden store ~
So here I am inside, wondering where to go first ~
Beautiful, Bixa! I've always wanted to visit Kew Gardens and am so happy you made it there. Wonderful start so far. I love those large lily pads. We have them at Kanapaha Gardens and they're my favorite things to see.
The next thing I saw was so stunning that it gets its very own post. The lady at the ticket kiosk said not to miss the roses and, even though I don't think of myself as much of a rose person, I decided to take a look. The incredible perfume from the masses of old-fashioned roses was a peak experience all by itself, but the sheer beauty and abundance knocked me over as well.
Please view the video full screen and, if it's not already set, put it on HD. Thanks!
Thank you, Htmb! I remember how much I enjoyed your Kanapaha photos, so you know it was a special thrill for me to see the Victoria amazonica in such a perfect Victorian setting.
Now it was time for me to set off for something I'd been wanting to see ever since I first heard of it, as evidenced here.
The Hive is hard to visualize in all its awe-inspiring size and the concrete perfection of how the concept is carried out. Truly, I don't think my pictures convey how very beautiful and airily monumental this thing is as it stands in the landscape ~
To enter the Hive, visitors are channeled up the right side and leave via the left ~
This kind young man was stationed underneath the Hive to explain things to visitors. I guess he saw me goggling and came over to show me the tiny chip that transmits from the real, bee-filled hive a mile away ~
Nice view on the steps up. The fenced area is part of the meadows for the bees, and is delightfully full of wildflowers ~
This is what it's like inside ~
It would be wonderful to visit the Hive at different times of day and also when it was empty, but it was wonderful enough when I was there. Time to leave it, though, with a couple of views on the way out ~
This would be heaven for me--excepting the indoor bits. The water lilies floor me, the beds the way they are arranged and laid out is sheer perfection and I can almost never tire of a well labeled specimen garden. How on Earth did they get their Salvia elegans to bloom in Summer? Mine won't until October and our climate is very similar.
Thank you, Fumobici. Kew, and the other gardens I visited, are the closest thing to heaven that I can imagine. As far as the Salvias, I am wondering if it isn't the very long days in England that help the bloom cycle along. When I was there -- mid to end of June -- there was still light at 10 pm. See if this article is any use to you. The writer says his (English) Salvias "have been flowering their socks off since June", so they're on the same schedule as those in Kew.
As far as "indoor bits", I'll be showing some more, but of a type that I think you'll enjoy.
In the meantime, let's move from sunny Salvias to some shaded beauty ~
A close-up ~
A closer close-up, with my greatly enlarged pinky finger held up for scale ~
I always love the vegetation in greenhouses, even though the temperature and humidity make me very quickly uncomfortable. One of my very first childhood memories was of giant lily pads, glimpsed on the very first family road trip -- somewhere in Virginia, I think, or perhaps Washington D.C. I also really like the long red danglers and those fruit which are ready to drop from the sky and clobber anything below.
The Hive is a remarkable object, even though if you don't look closely, it sort of resembles a roll of chicken wire. Assembly must have been a huge challenge, especially with electrical connections and lightbulbs. As for maintenance...
I am also attracted to the vegetation in the alpine house and and rock garden, even if it disturbs me at the same time -- such a struggle to survive in hostile terrain when so many other plants have it so easy!
Every time I see a palace or a royal house, I know that royal living is not for me.
Last Edit: Jul 31, 2017 15:44:30 GMT by bixaorellana: replace smiley
Thanks so much, Htmb. It was after I admired the trees in Kew that I was told about the big storm of 1987 and the devastation it wrought. The bright side of that was the increased knowledge of trees' needs and the opportunity to replant and even return some areas to their original plans. news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk/7033148.stm
Get ready to mop your forehead, Kerouac, as more greenhouse is coming up. I know what you mean about The Hive -- is it ugly? is it pretty? In photos, it's rather the Cameron Diaz of installations. But experiencing it inspires awe on both the hard science level and wonderfully, something of what young Arthur learned through Merlin's transformations in The Once and Future King. An amazing thing about the plants from harsh environments is how long it took some of them to achieve even their diminutive size. As far as royal living at Kew, you have to wonder about the mind that teamed that carpet pattern with that gold furniture, knowing that a person with mental health problems would be exposed to the crazy busy-ness of it all.
So, here we are at the Palm House. This is a view from when I first entered Kew, but had decided to return and take in this Victorian marvel at the end of my visit ~
Even if not a fan of formal bedding, you can see in the picture above how appropriate they are in that setting. I also like the way that unexpected color combinations are presented for our consideration ~
Alas, all is not pastoral peace ~
"We're staying out of it!"
And that's the end of this visit to Kew, which needs more than one visit to do it justice. I will be back!
Love, love , love this report, thank you . The videos really add to it too, especially of the Hive which really brought it to life . I have to go back too , only ever having been in Winter . I was surprised that you did not like roses - have you now changed your mind? The sambucus is so pretty,mine had just one flower this year but is really thriving so next year hopefully will have more but the foliage is so lovely it does not really matter. Really loved seeing the lilies in bloom .
Finally - no Cypress knees but I guess they are so common place to you.
Last Edit: Jul 31, 2017 15:48:25 GMT by bixaorellana: replace smileys
Thank you, Htmb. I think everyone would enjoy visiting Kew. I tried to make the thread informative, but it's worth it to go for the sheer beauty. There is so much I didn't cover because of the sheer size of the place, but I hope to make it there again one day.
Thank you so much, Lugg, for your heartening response. Kew is truly an abundance of beauty and interest, but I still wish I'd been there late enough to see the big borders in full glory. Maybe you'll make it there for that this year. Remember that I've mostly lived in hot &/or humid places, so my previous impression of roses: black spot, powdery mildew, gangly bushes, too few roses for the trouble. I always wanted the Alice in Wonderland kind -- bushes covered with healthy blooms. Kew (& other English gardens) delivered on that level, so I finally get it! Totally agree with you about the sambuca foliage -- I loved seeing it teemed with that slightly acid color of the lady's mantle. I DID see the knees and thought of you, but the photo came out too glary to use.
Kerouac: a person who wishes to do time in an English gaol.
Last Edit: Jul 31, 2017 15:50:32 GMT by bixaorellana: replace smileys
Thanks, Mick. You covered the PofW Conservatory quite well in your report. I saved it for last since I was more interested in having the experience of what can grow outdoors in England. By the time last came around, I was pooped.