Wednesday, 28 November 2012

First impressions

The Kew site is staggeringly vast, covering some 300 acres and containing glasshouses, lakes, laboratories and one of the largest compost heaps in Europe. Compared to the 10.5 acres of dear old Hidcote, it is all rather mind-boggling! The garden areas are mostly focused upon displaying the extensive collections of plants here, with an alpine garden, a winter garden, rhododendron dell, 17th century-style formal garden, rose garden and a whopping great arboretum that I keep finding myself lost in! The gardens were founded in 1759, but borne out of the Kew Park estate; lands owned in the 17th century by gentrified eggs who happened to be keen gardeners. This horticultural use of the land was continued by the royals who moved in later, with the botanical gardens starting up proper when Princess Augusta ordered the construction of a ‘physic garden’, for the display of “all the plants known on Earth”. 250-odd years later Kew is still offering up the best of the world’s flora, and I’m intending to share that with you here over the course of the next three years.
Kew Palace is the oldest building on the site, built in 1631. It is maintained independently by Historic Royal Palaces

The water lilies are one of the key attractions at Kew, with these huge leaf pads forming from plants grown by seed each year! The Waterlily House obviously houses some of these imposing chaps, but also the Princess of Wales Conservatory as seen here

The Grass Garden has been one of the real high points since I clambered aboard HMS Kew. Stipa ichu can be seen here flapping in the wind

The Palm House is Kew’s most iconic feature, but the peacocks that roam the gardens do an excellent job of stealing the show!

The size of the glasshouses is phenomenal, with the Temperate House easily harbouring 150-year old palms

Phoenix canariensis is one of the many huge palms seen inside

There are quite a few follies and ancient-looking temples about the place, but this one peering out over the Mediterranean Garden is the most beautiful

Mercifully, there are a few areas of herbaceous planting in the garden. The Duke’s Garden is one such area, and rest assured I will be following the action in here closely!

The scale of the place is enormous, typified here by the main lake with its river-like dimensions
The weird and the wonderful all reside at Kew! This is Strophanthus preussii, native to tropical Africa. Plenty more of this tropics mayhem to follow!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

To begin at the beginning

Cordial greetings one and all! Welcome along to my new blog, the Hidcote dream may be dead but a new adventure is just beginning here in London at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. I’ve just started on my first placement, and am currently under glass working in the Tropical Nursery (more on that later). Similar to my previous blog, I’m hoping I can offer some insight into what’s going on in the garden, and also feature reviews from the other gardens along the way that I happen to visit or volunteer at.
My email address remains bertiebainbo at gmail dot com (spam avast!) so please do get in touch with any notes and queries.
Although there will never be anything untoward bandied about on these pages, once again I must state that this is a personal blog so the opinions expressed herein may not necessarily reflect the views of the management eggs upstairs, or the Kew organisation in general.
Phew! Now let’s get on with it!