The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew are almost as large as their name is long. They run along the River Thames in the southwest of London, taking up about a half mile square (121 hectares, in case the hectare is a unit of measurement that means something to you). They’re on the World Heritage list because they’ve maintained their size and purpose for over two centuries; they do a lot of plant research here, and have one of the best orchid collections in the world, for example. When my friend Sessily and I met up in London, we decided to pack a picnic and make a day of it at Kew. We spent a lovely day in the warm sunshine, admiring the trees and flowers, gazing out over the pond, having an ice cream, watching kids run around excitedly, listening to the sound check for the Human League concert taking place there later that night… You know, normal gardens stuff.
I don’t know the names of plants, and a lot of plants didn’t have labels (or none that we could find), so I can’t name most of these for you. Feel free to educate me in the comments!
They have their own tube stop.
The oldest tree in Kew, planted in the early 18th century. It’s a sweet chestnut–that name I did find out!
We bought sandwich fixings from a Portuguese deli. This was a very good sandwich.
The treetop walk featured hilarious plaques noting plant facts. We loved this one because the artist decided to put in the male and female symbols (see where our fingers point), just in case you missed it in the text.
Palm tree in the Temperate House
I think this was a rhododendron–cool star pattern
Giant Japanese pagoda. The gardens also contain a small wooden house, called a minka, which was transferred piece by piece from Japan in 2000.
Pink and blue
I was really into this plant. It’s so airy! It looks like something the fairies might live in.
Kew Palace, the smallest royal residence in Britain. George III lived here during one of his bouts of madness.
They’ve restored the inside of the house.
Do do do, it’s a chair in the house. What’s that little placard say? Ahh! It’s the chair Queen Charlotte DIED in, back in 1818. I jumped away from that chair like the dead woman was still in it.
They make their own ice cream here. This mint chocolate chip was fantastic.
In the Princess of Wales Conservatory