Landed, arrived, rested.
We arrived in London on Friday June 30th on a red eye flight from Dulles, dumped our bags, caught a breakfast, and went to the Chelsea Physics Garden located next to the Thames. It was a smaller garden filled with lots of plant varieties, vegetable gardens, clever hardscaping, and some fine specimens that everyone enjoyed. We ate a simple dinner and checked into the hotel for much needed rest.
The following morning some of us visited the Borough Market; imagine the Redding Market in Philly without so many restaurant venues. With eyes wide and bellies rumbling at all the goodies we shopped for picnic foods to enjoy at Kew. We found smoked sausages, rabbit and duck pâté, freshly picked cherries and plums, and so many cheeses and spreads. With our bounty in tow we made our way to Kew Gardens and arrived right at noon. Right inside the entrance was a beautiful grass area with plenty of shade from a giant Oak tree. We sat in the grass and enjoyed our picnic.
Kew did not disappoint. It’s a grand garden that expands over 500 acres. There was plenty of forested area that has many excellent viewsheds and expanses to take in the multitude of species they’ve put in. With London being incredibly temperate they enjoy Zone 9 winter hardiness and summers that are relatively cooler than we have here in Virginia. This allows them to grow a great variety of plant materials. There are also many great garden rooms or areas where they’ve focused on specific things.
One of the favorites was the Rock Garden, completed in 1882 and then renovated in 1994. This beautiful garden allowed us to see plantings that ranged from arid to temperate and semi temperate and even tropical. This was done by layering the gardens and adding thoughtful water features.
We continued throughout the various sections of gardens. These included, but were not limited to, The Woodland Garden, The Evolution Garden, Duke’s Garden, and the Secluded Garden. Attached are two pictures of The Secluded Garden from both directions as an example of how many of these gardens were enclosed with hedges to make “Garden Rooms”.
With time passing and so much more to see we hustled across the 500 acre property to see the Japanese Garden with 10 story Pagoda. This garden area was complete in 1996 and was designed by Professor Fukuhara of Osaka University. It incorporated so many garden elements and was a joy to look at.
We stayed until the gardens closed and enjoyed every last moment we were there. As with our visit, time and brevity of this post, don’t allow for everything to be included, but the highlights are worth sharing.