Last weekend we visited my Auntie Maggie, who lives in SW London, for the weekend. Both of my parents grew up in that area and we visited fairly regularly as kids and had lots of days out and things, so there is a lot of memories there from my childhood, and I look forward to sharing some of those places, and memories with Hubby & Monkey over the years.
On Sunday we visited the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew. We always drove past the entrance to Kew on our route through London so I have a lot of memories related to it, and the last time I had been was many years ago with my Granddad, when he was in the early stages of Alzheimers. Quite a while ago. It is somewhere we talk about a lot as a family though as my Aunt actually volunteers there!
She has been volunteering there for many years and works a lot with Orchids and always works the Orchid Festival every year. She loves what she does there so it is a regular topic of conversation. It was suggested we go there during our visit and we jumped at the chance to see the place! Now, unfortunately, I forgot my camera so everything was just taken on my phone, so there aren’t as many photos of all of the gorgeous flowers as I would have liked to take! Plus, the place is huge and we barely touched the surface, there is lots more to see on another day!
It was a grey old start to the day and rain was threatened but we decided to go for it anyway and luckily the rain held off! Monkey was in charge of the map (good job Maggie knew where she was going)
and he loved running around and looking at all of the flowers..
… and he was fascinated by all the planes overhead.
Maggie helped plant these beauties (She did tell me what they were but I can’t remember now, sorry Mags!)
It is a fascinating plants as in addition to all of the wonderful plants, and hothouses, there are lots of unexpected architectural delights such as temples and bridges to be seen peeking through the foliage at various points, which I love
There is the fantastic Pagoda, which is open all season this year and can be climbed, which offers supposedly fantastic views out of London, although with my pelvis in the state it is in at the moment we decided not to attempt the 238 step climb to the top that day! We did however head to the treetop walk, where there is handy lift for those of us less able to manage the stairs. One thing about going in the left, rather than climbing, is that the height hits you pretty suddenly, and it is seriously high up! As I guess you would expect from a treetop walk! It wobbles a bit under foot at certain points too giving a slightly unsteady feeling in the pit of your stomach! It was fascinating though, with lots of tree related facts dotted about, and some lovely views out over the gardens. There is also a funky donations tube where you drop a coin in and hear it clunk all the way down to the ground! Monkey loved that!!
We wandered a little more around the Japanese gardens, and Monkey found a perfect toddler sized path to wander round
Then at the base of the Pagoda is a display called the Healing Man. They have created a display in the shape of the human body, and then planted medicinal plants in the places where they are used to heal things. Certain things planted near the heart, others in the head etc. etc. It was actually pretty fascinating and there was all sorts of plants that I never realised were used for medicinal purposes, and they displayed it all in a really creative, effective way. It was fascinating! And Monkey liked beating the drum they had for the heart
After lunch we headed to some of the hot houses, where my Aunt spends a lot of her time there, and the palm house was magnificent, really reminded me of being in the jungle actually (my Aunt and I spent a month together with a group of others in the rainforests of Belize about 10 years ago do some conservation work).
The heat is incredible and some of the plants are fascinating, I never even thought before what a Ginger plant looks like – I know what the root looks like, but not the plant, but, well, here it is! Amazing.
The Waterlily house was incredible and some of the flowers were just so beautiful, and the lilypads are huge!
That was about the end of our visit to kew, Monkey was tired and it was a lot of walking around for preggo me, so we will have to go back another day to see some of the other delights. It really is a fab day out there with so much to see – we never even got to the play areas, which are supposed to be fantastic! I definitely recommend a visit if you are ever in that neck of the woods