Kew Botanical Gardens

DSC_4303Okay, I can officially say that Kew is my favorite place in England (so far, and really, no surprise there). It was lovely and sunny and not too terribly busy.

We only were able to see a fraction of the gardens in the few hours we were there. We hit the photography paradise that is inside the Princess of Wales Conservatory, which houses 10 climatic zones, and includes the room full of orchids. I additionally love photographing cacti and ferns. Those fortunate enough to be in a ray of sunlight were particularly radiant.

DSC_4237We strolled the grounds for a bit, with the aim of heading toward the Temperate Glasshouse, but kept getting side tracked by interesting and impossibly large old trees. We managed a quick tour of the Temperate house and made sure to go up to the sky walk up the narrow spiral staircase before the conservatories were closed fifteen minutes prior to the Gardens closing. Looking down on the umbrellas of tree ferns I snapped a shot and was reminded of a photo I captured staring up into a dizzying array of fern leaves in Costa Rica, the play of light creating an optical illusion.

As the Gardens were closing, we made our way through the Witch Hazel that is in bloom this time of year. Over all I was amazed and impressed with just how many flowering plants were flowering now, in January. I am in awe of this place, of how so many hundreds of species from around the world grow on the grounds and thrive in alien environmental conditions.

Since we know this is a place we’ll want to visit again and again, we’ve decided to become “Premier Friends of Kew” This will allow us unlimited visits to Kew (and over a dozen other gardens in England) along with a number of guest passes, as we’ll definitely want to take guests there when they visit us.

I wonder how far we walked with several hours of solid walking? I also wonder just how many different species of trees are on the grounds? The Kew FAQ site mentions there are over 14,000 trees on its 300 acres, but I have not seen a quote anywhere of just how many different species there are.

A few of my favorite shots (hard to just pick a few):
Cactus in sunlight DSC_4275 DSC_4298

The complete photo set here

Deb on narrow upper walk in Temperate Glasshouse