The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
Located just 20-30 minutes from London, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, better known as simply Kew, is not to be missed. So vast and impressive on 325 gorgeous acres, it makes you feel as if Disney designers visited Giverny (pronounced shee-verny), saw Monet’s garden and said, “You know what….” (For a true French pronunciation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YbIZHRCQkS0)
So close to London and yet so far. Wide open spaces, small lakes, flowers galore, water fowl sitting quietly under the trees, or floating placidly on the lake, Kew (pronounced queue, and you’ll see what I mean when you’re waiting to buy tickets) is open daily, 1000 to 1900 and 1000 to 2000 on weekends.
For the unfortunates who’ve never used a European train schedule, 1900 = 7 p.m. and 2000? Well, I give you more credit than you give yourselves.
But, back to the garden itself. I know you’re probably thinking, seen one you’ve seen ‘em all. Not so my botanically challenged friends. Where else can you laze under huge trees, stroll wide open spaces of green grass, stop and smell the roses, admire fabulous arrays of water lilies, see palms and their cousins collected from all over the world, all while you broaden your education and treat your senses?
Unfortunately, the Treetop Walkway was closed during our visit. And after more than two hours of walking, we ran out of time and energy to visit The Temperate House. No problem. We will go back.
It was in the Palm House that I had a conversation with one of the attendants, while he was in the process of watering huge potted plants. Remember in London Conversations I explained how import conversation is to being a traveler, instead of a mere tourist?
So, I asked the smart young man while he waved his hose and sprinkler. “How often do you water these plants?”
“Depends mostly on the weather, but the potted plants usually get watered twice a day. On the other hand, the bedded plants get watered once every day.”
“How deep are the beds?”
“About six feet, but you’ll get a better idea if you stand close to the beds and look down through the grates. You can see to the bottom of the beds.”
Really nice fellow, with a cheery smile, who no doubt enjoyed his job, and I’m sure watering was only a part of his job. Kew Gardens are also a botanic laboratory and research and educational facility, sponsored by The Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, with 723 employees.
Speaking of education, Kew offers everything from short courses on identifying and planting wild flowers, to lengthy PhD degrees. You can check out what’s available for yourself: https://www.kew.org/science/training-and-education
But, we were there just for the day and I’ll tell you right now, a day at Kew is akin to watching the five minute version of Gone With the Wind. We strolled the grounds, saw the Palm House and the Water Lilly House, crossed the lake (simply called The Lake) via the Sackler Crossing. Yes, we stopped to smell the roses and loiter in the shade of giant trees while sipping a refreshing cider.
Need some more adjectives and inconsequential comments? I thought not. Time to let both my faithful readers, through the magic of photography, meander the grounds of this very special garden and see for themselves the best way to discard the crowds and cement of a fabulous city, to recoup and linger and relax in the leisure of the magnificent Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, which by the way is a United Nations World Heritage Site, with over 40,000 species of plants.
Be sure to mind your manners and obey the posted signs! The Kew Gardens has its own police force, the Kew Constabulary!
|Overlooking the Rose Garden|
|Don't forget to look up or you'll miss some color!|
|Many of the trees are hundreds of years old.|