Kew Gardens

Inspired by my run through Kensington Gardens, I decided to take the train out to Kew Gardens.  A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Kew Gardens are considered one of the best gardens in the world.  They cover hundreds of acres, and I could have spent all day there — as it was, I only had time to just scratch the surface.  Seeing these gardens makes me want to plan a garden-hopping trip to England to see all the best gardens in the palaces and country houses.

The line was way longer than I expected
The gardens have a series of giant glass houses dedicated to different types of plants.
This was the Palm House.
First thing you see in the palm house? A palm that is older than the US and the French Revolution.
The plant was added to the Kew Gardens in 1775.
Throughout the gardens, I tried to soak up the richness and variety of the plantings.
I really love the plantings en masse with such different textures, colors and shapes.
A waterfall in the Rock Garden.
The Water Lily House was the highlight for me.
Hard to get a sense of scale, but if you’re in any doubt, those things are HUGE!  Probably a good 3-4 feet diameter.
They’re a type of giant water lily from the Brazilian Amazon.  Discovered and first brought back
during Victoria’s reign. This one is actually a hybrid bred onsite with another lily from
Peru — otherwise the pads would be so large they’d overwhelm the pool.
The variegation and star-shaped petals made these super interesting.
This was the plant-family section — each bed had a bunch of varieties of plants all in the same family.
Peonies!  The plants themselves aren’t interesting without the flowers, but look at the framework
of branches — the plants grow up through the basket-like supports, which give structure to keep the plants
upright once they get tall and are laden with heavy blooms.
Is there anything lovelier than a calla?
Bees!
Fair warning
Carnivorous plants
Cacti in one of the greenhouses
Kew Palace is clearly a side-note here. 
So, the garden map promised a greenhouse full of “climbers and creepers”, which I assumed meant vines.
Not so — it was the playground.  Boo.
The giant trees, and the tall uncut grass, had a lovely, almost wild feeling.
Vast expanses of parkland to offset the formality of the planted gardens.

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