Kew Gardens


I reacted to the weather this morning (ie rare sunshine) and went to Kew Gardens.

Ate pork chop and roast vegetables in the Orangery, rode around on the excellent little road train, went up on the treetop walkway (which I couldn’t find last time I went there), and walked in the bluebell woods.  (Learned the difference between English and Spanish bluebells.)

I noticed a lot of ladies of all ages walking around on their own.  I suppose it’s a safe place for lone women to get the ‘countryside’ experience.  I wondered how many were sad widows thinking about their lost husbands (like me).

The number one attraction at Kew has to be the main greenhouse by the lake, the Palm House.  The atmosphere is amazing, the plants are beautiful, it’s clearly so exquisitely well kept.  I’d have to put it in my top 10 favourite places in London.  (I’ll have to think about what the other 9 are.)

The even hotter waterlilly house just does something to me.  I’ve only ever lived in a temperate climate, but that heat speaks to me somehow, like some primeval echo.

Also deserving of mention is the gift shop, in which the goods on offer have ‘evolved’ over the years (by a process of ‘human retail selection’) to be the most beautiful and desirable in existence.  A wonderful selection of appealing flower and garden related books, beautiful scarves, cushions, tea towels, mugs, calendars etc etc. (Somehow I restricted myself to two purchases, a cuddly rabbit and a CD of Latin Cafe music.)

A highlight of the day was seeing, as I exited from the Palm House, a lovely big fox trotting utterly nonchalantly across the grass, literally amidst the tourists.  A young French girl next to me uttered a charming and appropriate word as we watched him: “Magnifique!”

Other things I saw at Kew today:

  • Lots of squaaky green parrots
  • A peacock sitting under a bush
  • An orange-tip butterfly (plus yellow and various red butterflies)
  • Stunning beds of tulips
  • Glorious blossom trees and magnolia
  • A tree which they thought was dead in about 1987 but came back to life again after a big storm
  • Spooky ‘ghost’ pictures in the Palace
  • Rowers on the Thames
  • A human-sized badger sett (but no human-sized badgers)

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