Sunday, July 3, 2011

Day 9 UK Kew Gardens

Yay! We woke up to sunshine! Our excursion today is going to be The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew... better known as just Kew Gardens. Sue was going to meet us and we would take the train out. Kew Gardens is located southwest of London and houses the worlds largest collection of living plants. There are over 30,000 different types of plants in a 300 acre park. Obviously, were weren't going to make much of a dent in a few hours but we were going to give it our best shot. The history of Kew as gardens started in the 1700's and thanks to some very foresighted people it has grown into one of the worlds most important sites for experimentation and seed repository, not to mention a feast to the eyes for the general public.
The Palm House, Kew Gardens

Our first stop was the Palm house which was constructed between 1844 and 1848. In front of this greenhouse are a line up of mythical creatures who I thought were kind of cute. I am putting their pictures in the gallery and a description of what they represented. There are more than Palms in this house and we all ooed and ahhed over the variation of plants but most especially the markings on the leaves. Some of them look like they could have been appliqued.
I am sharing lots of these pictures in the gallery, but please remember that these are mine. If you want to use any of them, please ask permission. With few exceptions, these plants are not labelled.... some I know, most I don't. In the lower level of the Palm House are some aquariums... lighting was horrible and my flash was bouncing off everything...

Next stop was the Water Lily House. The structures of some of the Lily pads were really interesting. This was the smallest of the greenhouses we visited.

By now we were hungry and needed a break.... this was a lot of walking. Just as we got to the cafeteria, the skies opened up! Good timing. By the time we were done, the sun was out again. Welcome to the weather in the UK.

Our last stop was the Temperate House. This is the largest surviving Victorian glass structure. It took 40 years to construct and has the floor area twice that of the Palm House. I forgot to take a picture, but here is a link to one that is probably better than I would have done. This greenhouse has plants from all the temperate zones for all the regions of the world. Did you know that there are a zillion types of Fuchsia??

We had company on our walk to the Temperate House.. this lovely peacock who just took us in stride. This stately old tree also caught my eye on the walk.

We had a great time and the weather cooperated. Thank you so much Sue for spending time with us.
Sue Sanderson and yours truly

Dinner is going to be late... we are exhausted. Tomorrow is a travel day for us to Italy... it is also Father's Day and my birthday... we are celebrating tonight... who knows what we will find open tomorrow night or how tired we will be.

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