A day in Kew Gardens – Part 1

My head seems to be filled with gardens lately, I’m constantly hunting out green spaces in the city. When I’m not stopping by Gordon Square or spending a quiet afternoon reading in St Georges Gardens, I’m doing things like going to the Garden Museum like I did the other day. I’m not a particularly green-fingered person and I don’t know much about botany but there is something about living in a student house with no garden, backyard, balcony, terrace or patio that makes you automatically seek out what you don’t have.

At home in Denmark we have a small garden and our cabin in Sweden is surrounded not only by a big, green garden but also by the wild, dark forest and I really miss having access to these. The difference here in London is that I don’t have a place of my own but have to ‘make do’ (like everyone else) with the public green spaces scattered all over the city. At least it’s not that difficult to find one, especially not here in Bloomsbury.

Now that it’s summer, everything is blooming and with the surprisingly good weather we have had lately, I just want to go out and enjoy all of these gardens. And wow, did I find exactly what I was looking for, when my parents and I went to Kew Gardens two weeks ago.

It has been hard for me trying to put down into words how much I really liked the place and I’ve really struggled to write this post because there was just so much to see, photograph and write about! Every time you took a turn, you walked into a new landscape, different from the one you just left. You walked along a path and suddenly found yourself in a new place with its own unique athmosphere, like when we went from a tranquil, simplistic-looking rock garden, turned right through a gate and suddenly found ourselves in a luxurious and deliciously smelling rose garden, filled with rows of roses in every colour from white to cream, light pink, cerise pink, blushing red and soft orange,  and carrying every scent with the wind, as you walked among them and under them beneath a long pergola.

Since my favourite flowers are orchids, I really liked the Princess of Wales Conservatory because the very warm and humid greenhouse was filled with the most beautiful collection of different exotic variations of them, not to mention a pretty fascinating collection of funny looking carnivorous plants and these little pebble plants or ‘living stones’, that resembled a cluster of pebbles. And I loved the Waterlily House, with its Victorian construction, romantically dirty windows, and vines climbing up the structure and of course, the waterlilies themselves, especially the funny looking ones that looked like massive, green saucers in giant size. It reminded me so much of how I imagine the greenhouses of Hogwarts to be like!

But my favourite places however, was the Royal Kitchens, Kew Palace and the Queens Garden.  I liked the kitchen garden because it seemed particularly British to me with its brick walls, straight rows of strawberries and beetroot and the cutest little garden shed, filled with old garden tools and empty pots waiting to be filled with plants. The red brick palace, although looking small and less impressive from afar than many other palaces, turned out to be a very handsome building, that I especially liked for its long, quiet hallways and empty doorways that reminded me of something out of a Hammershoi painting! It was like you could still hear the echo of footsteps from the people who once lived there. And from the windows you could stand in all the quietness of the house and look out onto the small but impressive Queens Garden behind the palace. It was probably the area of Kew that I spent the most time photopgraphing. So much time actually, that my normally very patient mum asked if I couldn’t hurry up a bit, so we could move on. Oh, if I could just have stayed there forever! There really was so much to see everywhere in the garden.

I admit that I often have a tendency to stay in the central parts of London because I live there and I enjoy going to places that are within walking distance but it was really great seeing a completely different area of London down by Richmond, which was a very attractive neighbourhood that I hadn’t been to be before. But it was such a reward to go on what has been one of my longer tube rides (it was a Saturday, football fans everywhere and most of the district line had been closed, which made it end up taking 1½ hour to get there!).  to see Kew Gardens. We only saw a “small part” of the garden, as it was so big that we couldn’t possibly have seen everything in just one day but this only means that I have to come back again someday. I would really like to see it in the Fall when all the green leaves change to the incredibly warm red, orange and brown colours of the season. How amazing wouldn’t that be? Just imagine the photographs one could take! *



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