Kew Gardens

I’ve been to Kew Gardens once, but it was in March on what seemed to be a day not as cold as the others. Now, when it’s more than 30 degrees Celsius outside and London is scorching hot, I feel the need to repeat the visit. It takes me less than half an hour on the District Line to get to the Kew Gardens station, and here I am just outside it.

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The gardens are about 500m away from the station, so I head up this little street, which I happen to remember very well – something very unusual for a topographically challenged person that I am!

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It’s quite early in the morning – the gardens open at 10, and I am going to make it right for the opening time.

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The district is waking up and there is quite some life going on already, but for example this nice cosy café is still pretty empty.

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Finally, I reach the Royal Botanical Gardens, and enter from the Victoria Gate. The entrance costs £15 for a regular ticket, by the way. These colourful flowers are the first thing that catches my eye as I enter.

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I then turn left and walk along the edge of the gardens. The first interesting thing I see is this ruined Roman arch, which in fact is a fake, as it was only built in the 18th century and the ruins are artificial.

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On sunny days I love how whimsical the patches of sunlight, created by the shadows of the trees, look.

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Another attraction is the Great Pagoda, also constructed in the 18th century and imitating a Chinese pagoda. It even has nine layers, representing the nine levels of heaven as per Chinese beliefs.

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It is currently closed for general public, and I think, it is being restored at the moment. Once again, as it was the case with some other building mentioned in some other post, it’s a good thing that the exterior is not “disturbed” by the restoration, as it would be a pity not to be able to get a view of this majestic construction.

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To continue with the Asian theme, quite close the the Pagoda there is a traditional Japanese garden, with a replica of a gateway of some temple in Kyoto.

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Here is a closer picture of this construction, simply known as the Japanese Gateway.

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As I walk on, suddenly I come across a very beautiful spot with lots of flowers. I don’t even know what exactly those are – the flowers kind of look like rhododendron, but the leaves are quite different.

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What is particularly amazing is that they come in different colours and tones, which makes the whole scenery even more beautiful.

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Right next to it lies the Waterlily Pond – and there are indeed waterlilies in it, although they are so far away that it’s hard to make them out.

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I am now approaching a big lake, which I’ve been trying to locate with a map.

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I absolutely love lakes, ponds etc.: not only do they look beautiful, but there is also usually lots of wildlife around them. This picture is a vivid illustration of what I’m saying: the trees, the plants and their reflection in the water look gorgeous, plus, as a bonus, there is a heron and a duck in it!

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This is a bridge over the lake, called Sackler Crossing.

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It is late summer, so all the ducklings and goslings have more or less grown up by now – these guys must probably be teenagers, yet still around their mum!

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I take two pictures from each side of the bridge (somehow the second one looks way nicer!)

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And that’s the bridge itself once again, it has an interesting shape, which absolutely has to be eternalised on my camera!

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The next stop in my walk is the Bamboo Garden. Bamboos are probably among my favourite plants – and I’ve even tried painting them, when I was once trying out Chinese painting. They turned out pretty well, by the way, even though my overall painting style is hardly any different than that of a four-year-old child.

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My walk continues, and the map promises that I would see a rhododendron dell, and then an azalea garden. Well, technically it doesn’t lie: I do see both, but there isn’t a single flower left in either one of them. I guess, their blossoming season is over. What a disappointment! 😦

So instead, here is a picture of a tulip tree, which is not blossoming either, but at least has very interestingly shaped leaves.

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I am now approaching the Palm House, which is a greenhouse existing since Victorian times. There is a rose garden right next to it.

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At least, the roses don’t disappoint me! There are so many of them here, of different species and colours. I smell a few of them, and the scent is just divine!

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The Waterlily House is another greenhouse, which I am not entering, especially that I’ve seen an open-air waterlily pond just a while ago. There are a couple of stunning flower beds outside it, which I’m enjoying instead.

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The Palm House Parterre has even more stunning flower beds, which totally make up for the absence of azalea and rhododendron flowers.

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The last stop of my today’s walk is the King William’s Temple and the Mediterranean Garden surrounding it. The direct sunlight and the heat create an effect of full presence – you do indeed feel like you’re somewhere in Greece or Italy for a moment!

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Just before leaving the gardens, I suddenly spot a black mulberry tree, which postpones my leave for at least 15 minutes, as I pick and eat a few reachable berries.

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From the fact that there are so few of them at a reachable height, I conclude that quite a lot of Kew Gardens’ visitors must be familiar with these berries. I haven’t had any for years actually, and given that in Britain these trees seem to be relatively common, I’m surprised that the black mulberries themselves are not that widely known.

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As I’m out of the gardens now and heading back to the station, here is a rather spot-on caricature about Brexit.

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