Thursday, 31 January 2013


After a rather mild old time of it, winter recently took hold at Kew with freezing temperatures and delightfully snowy landscapes! There have been some truly wonderful sights to behold, but surely the highlight at this time of year is taking joy in the detail; for example the beauty of some standing dead or the colours of a tiny flowering bulb, which may look like the most delicate thing in the garden but is in fact the hardiest. Tulip stems have cheerfully poked through the parterres in front of the Palm House, offering hope and the chance to dream of an early spring! Doubtless another cold snap is lurking just around the corner, lead pipe in hand and waiting patiently to smother such optimism, but until such time we shall proceed blissfully in a haze of positivity and glorious sunshine!

The old Palm House seen over the pond, thankfully it’s warm inside!

Snow settles on the unheated Alpine House, with the Rock Garden coated below

This is Syon Vista I was jabbering on about earlier, leading away from the Palm House to the River Thames

The snow begins to melt…

The snowdrop, Galanthus elwesii, is one of the most welcome sights at this time of year!

Over in the Apline House, Narcissus papyraceus var. polyanthos, forms one of the many potted bulb displays

One of the best displays this winter in the Alpine House has been Scilla maderensis! Seen here in the Alpine Nursery, these beauties are somewhat more imposing than the little blue chaps that self-seed around English gardens

Out on the Rock Garden, Cyclamen coum subsp. coum

The Winter Aconite, Eranthis hyemalis, is amongst the most colourful of the tiny winter bulbs

Out in the Arboretum, the Helleborus orientalis cultivars are flowering away, as always, the stoical blighters. What wonderful plants!

Helleborus argutifolius is an outstanding species, with excellent, spiny foliage

The Grass Garden is admittedly looking rather tatty compared to its late-summer glory, but nevertheless is still jolly exciting!

The witch hazel bed is undoubtedly the most colourful area of the Kew Arboretum, with a huge array of Hamamelis species flowering their socks off! H. x intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’ seen here

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Barmstedt Gold’ is another cultivar. ‘Cheese-string jewels!’


Jane Aston said...

Wonderful to see those plants. Many of those early flowers are among my favourites. I spotted the odd bud today on the Clematis. It's been a tough, dull week here. I'm being my most patient best in ready for going out into the garden properly. The Saturday job looks a delight.

Gardener in the Distance said...

Hello, Bertie. The whiteness is incredible. It would be nothing to you I suppose, but I've never encountered it, have never seen a landscape so utterly changed. I can well understand your yearning for spring. Very stately photographs.

Unknown said...

Dear Bertie,
I'm so glad you have snowdrops. We don't have them here yet so I am slightly envious.
it always cheers my heart to see them.
Bye for now

Prue said...

I'm off out soon so no time to read your blog - lovely piccies again!

Have you seen this?

Thought you might like it :)

Back with you later

Wife, Mother, Gardener said...

Lovely sights for late winter at Kew! Definite envy over here, though I know under our 6 inches of snow there are hiding a few snowdrops. Thanks for sharing some color!

Bertie Bainbridge said...

Greetings all! More early flowers to follow. Prue, many thanks for the fascinating article!