One thing I want to do more of on this blog is throw a spotlight on places around London and Brighton through photography as well as simply the written word. This week it is Kew Gardens’ turn and one can not even begin to share the beauty of this place without allowing pictures to do the talking (although I will still talk, unfortunately). I have had what one would call a tumultuous relationship with Kew over the course of my lifetime (I am 20 so maybe “lifetime” isn’t the right word but let’s run with it). Whilst that does sound dramatic, it’s not terribly far from the truth… You see my family home is about 15 minutes from Kew and when I was younger I was dragged there many many times. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it, but it became repetitive and when you are a child, you feel naturally against things you are obliged to go to by your parents. I do have many fond memories of Kew Gardens however, and that is probably part of the reason I was so happy to go back. They have an ice rink every winter that I remember my dad dragging me across the ice on, at a speed I thought would break the speed of light, but in actual fact was probably dangerously slow. Other times I remember my glasses always fogging up whenever we went into the greenhouses and everyone else would laugh when I walked into all the plants. So yeah, Kew used to be that fun but not always fun place that I went to as a kid, but over the past few years I have begun to love nature photography more and more and knew I needed to go back to actually fully appreciate the gardens.
The most memorable part of Kew for me are the greenhouses. You can’t fully imagine the size, scale and inner beauty of these buildings until you walk in and are hit in the face by the humidity and become so insignificant in comparison to the infinite intertwining plants, most of which are many many years older than I am and to whom the word “lifetime” would be more suited!!! The amount of work and effort that goes into the maintenance of the entire gardens is incredible and once you actually see the immaculate upkeep of the entire place, you don’t think twice about the entry price (£15 for adults/ £14 for students), as without this money, they would not be able to maintain the gardens to a standard even close to what they are.
Other than the main greenhouses, there are also loads of little hidden aspects of Kew Gardens and it is near impossible to see them in one visit, but we definitely tried. The treetop walkway is an interesting one… I was so so keen to go on this because it just sounds like the best thing ever, but as soon as I reached the top I was not prepared for it to wobble. And boy did it wobble! I am not usually afraid of heights, but maybe that is just when I am enclosed in a glass and concrete building that is securely attached to the ground. But the view from the top is worth the odd feeling in your stomach and I would definitely go up again next time (even if I did spend half the time with my eyes shut, running to the exit).
If I had to answer what my absolute favourite part was? Well easy, the incredible monstera plants growing in the Palm House. They are something else entirely and a beauty to photograph. I don’t even want to know how many years it will take for our little monstera to grow even a fraction as incredible as theirs, but I am prepared to wait and nurture it to bring a little bit of Kew Gardens into our home.
Visit the Kew Gardens website for all information https://www.kew.org/