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Kew Gardens - revisited

Reported byChris

A late visit to Kew sounded like it might be prone to similar climatic disappointment as the April visit. However, good friend Elizabeth was over from Dublin, and she was as keen to make her first visit to Kew as I was to accompany her.

Yet again, the ground was very wet underfoot after two months of torrential rain, but to our delight, the 13th November 2000 dawned with brilliant blue skies and a relatively mild temperature.


To view a bigger image of any picture, double click on the small picture

There was a surprising amount to see, and I was very pleased that Elizabeth wanted to concentrate on the areas that I hadn't hitherto visited. That said, this visit report is short, because I've lost the notes that I took on the day!

grasses
The grass gardens looked glorious and reminded me of fireworks - very appropriate for the time of year! They were also very soft, colourful and comforting. Many of them begged to be touched and fortunately the few workers in evidence at Kew don't seem to mind this kind of behaviour.

At this point we were not "lost" - one day I will get my bearings on the layout of Kew. I assumed that Elizabeth's sense of direction must surely be better than Judith's or my own . I soon ascertained that this was indeed a rash assumption!

purple plants
We wandered on and encountered clumps of these pretty purple plants. They are actually more purple than they look in the picture. They were growing in rampant clumps all around Kew, about 1 foot high. Someone told me what they were and I wrote it down and kept it with my notes that I made on the day. Siiiigh... if we can but discover the name again I'd really like to get some as they clearly flower at a time when flowers are few and far between.

Japanese structure
Long after we became totally lost we came across a very Japanese area. Not usually my sort of thing, but I have to say with the glorious autumn colour it had to offer on this particular day, this structure looked stunning.

We visited the Temperate House (primarily for a warm!). This is a lovely place with such exotic jungle like foliage - very cheering on an autumn day. Around the top there is a narrow corridor. If you can climb the spiral staircase to get up there you can get a spectacular view of this whole construction.
Hedgehog Tree
However, it is a very steep open staircase! Elizabeth was not stupid enough to even attempt it, I'm afraid I was. I got within 4 steps of the top and was engulfed in what I can only describe as sheer panic. I knew that if I took one more step upwards, I would NEVER be able to get myself down. I crawled down again with both white-knuckled hands clutching firmly to the thin rail. If you have a problem with heights don't even try it!

Satisfied at last with the view from ground level, we encountered an intriguing tree which is called Banksia Ornata. Don't those "fruits" look for all the world like hedgehogs!

We wandered for hours, as one does when lost in Kew. Every track Elizabeth insisted we try seemed to lead us forever onwards to the biggest compost heap in the world - not an exhibit we particularly wanted to view! Finally we returned to the Victoria Gate, just past the time that the cafe closes . Fortunately I know of a pleasant little cafe on the way to the tube station, and there we sat outside and nattered until we nearly froze!

Ahhhh....... A lovely day!


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