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.
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!
It’s quite early in the morning – the gardens open at 10, and I am going to make it right for the opening time.
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.
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.
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.
On sunny days I love how whimsical the patches of sunlight, created by the shadows of the trees, look.
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.
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.
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.
Here is a closer picture of this construction, simply known as the Japanese Gateway.
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.
What is particularly amazing is that they come in different colours and tones, which makes the whole scenery even more beautiful.
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.
I am now approaching a big lake, which I’ve been trying to locate with a map.
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!
This is a bridge over the lake, called Sackler Crossing.
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!
I take two pictures from each side of the bridge (somehow the second one looks way nicer!)
And that’s the bridge itself once again, it has an interesting shape, which absolutely has to be eternalised on my camera!
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.
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.
I am now approaching the Palm House, which is a greenhouse existing since Victorian times. There is a rose garden right next to it.
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!
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.
The Palm House Parterre has even more stunning flower beds, which totally make up for the absence of azalea and rhododendron flowers.
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!
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.
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.
As I’m out of the gardens now and heading back to the station, here is a rather spot-on caricature about Brexit.