Seasons of Kew

I have a poster that I bought before relocating to the states to remind me of a place I love in southwest London. It’s now framed and hanging in my studio office where I see it every day. Some days were spent there admiring the acres of natural beauty held lovingly enclosed within four gated entrances, then strolling along well-planned footpaths, while scouting out iconic glass structures like the Temperate, Palm, and Waterlily Houses that contain plants, vegetation, and flowers in perfectly climate-controlled zones. Other days were spent journeying through the Shirley Sherwood and Marianne North Galleries appreciating the classic and contemporary botanical art, as well as viewing architecturally interesting sites such as the Great Pagoda and Princess of Wales Conservatory. And just about every visit had us stopping in for a warm beverage like a Caffe Americano and bite to eat, maybe a blueberry scone or a Ploughman’s sandwich at The Orangery, then popping around to the Victoria Plaza Shop to peruse garden-related treasures before exiting the Brentford Gate, and trekking back along the Thames to our flat that awaited us over the Richmond Bridge.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

From my journal: April 5, 2010, E. Twickenham, England

“Went to Kew yesterday – cloudy, cool, occasional sun…got muddy from the wet paths. Wonderful daffodils and magnolias in bloom! So bold and bright!”

We had the distinct pleasure of being members of Kew Gardens for the four years we lived in E. Twickenham and visited at least once a month. About a 40-minute walk from our place, it made for the perfect day out. It didn’t matter how often we went, with all there is to see and do, it was always a delight for all the senses.

The Rose Garden

Summer is a pretty and fragrant time at Kew. Beds of lavender, lilies, and daisies blossom brightly and vie for your attention. While the sweet aromas in the Rose Garden draw you in and then dazzle you with their hues of yellow, orange, pink and red.

Located in a canopy of trees 60 feet up, the Rhizotron & Xstrata Treetop Walkway is a great place to take in a grand view of autumnal colors every fall. From there you can see the golden ginkgo trees, red maples, and yellow green chestnut trees in all their splendor. 

The Treetop Walkway

During the winter months, while many trees lose their leaves revealing their structural beauty, the conifers, pines, and redwoods become the standouts. Statuesque and mighty, they show off their full-branched greenery, adding life to the pale landscape that time of year.

And spring, my favorite time to experience this garden paradise, is when splashes of color and new scents enliven the soul! The indigo carpet of bluebells, pink cherry blossoms all aflutter, and the woody fragrances calling from Rhododendron Dell make this season even more special.

Bluebells Galore!

With more than 50,000 different plants in its living collection, and over 7 million preserved specimens, this UNESCO World Site is one of the most extensive and important botanical landmarks not only in the UK, but in the world!  

If you find yourself in London and are looking for a fun day away from the frenetic pace of the city, hop on a bus or the Tube and head 30 minutes west to Kew. Although Kew Gardens is only one mile across and you could walk it in about 45 minutes, give yourself at least 3 hours to experience the botanical marvels there. Jump on the tram and get an overview of the grounds, sign up for a tour with a trained volunteer, take a self-guided stroll, or just let yourself get lost in wandering around. Family friendly, the Climbers and Creepers area provides an interactive educational facility for kids and parents to explore, and there’s a Children’s Garden, too. And it doesn’t matter which season you go. Each one brings fresh offerings. From artist exhibits, lectures, workshops, holiday activities, to Mother Nature’s breath-taking changes, it’s there for you to take part in and enjoy. Be like the more than 1.35 million people that visit each year and…Go to Kew!

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