Kew Gardens and the Orchid Festival

This is where I admit that I had never visited Kew Gardens.  I have wanted to for many years.  I have driven past it a few times, I have thought about it often, I even got as far as making plans to go in 2020 and then, yes of course, the pandemic saw to that plan good and proper.  So when a friend said 'let's go on an adventure together, let's go and visit a garden - I want to see the orchids at Kew', well I would have been ridiculous to have said no.

This is also where I admit that for some bizarre reason I thought Kew was harder to get to then it is.  This I cannot explain at all, there is even a tube station close by, yet in my head it was going to be a complicated journey.  One very easy journey later and we were there.  It was a lovely winter's afternoon.  The weather was mildish and there was some sun.  This was as good as could be hoped for.  We knew we hadn't got lots of time so we had a quick sandwich for lunch and made our plans.  Temperate House first and we were booked into the Orchid Festival mid afternoon, anything after that would be a bonus.
There was time, of course, for some statue admiration,
plus I now know that this is an open fetterlock.  This piece of new knowledge was more pleasing than is reasonable.
The Temperate House was a delight.  It was warm and steamy and full of amazing plants.
My usual habit it to photograph the plant of delight and then the label and this I did,  usually I would show you the plant but today I thought no, let's show the labels.
there was much label-photographing (not my beautifully manicured hand I hasten to add).
So many beautiful plants, I could make this blog post far too long just from this part of of the visit.
and in amongst our general chatter we even had a brief discussion about latin plant names and Linnaeus.

But we had to get to the Orchid Festival, so we wandered back out into the now colder-feeling day.  
On the way we passed this glorious Hamamelis.  It was shining like it was covered in flickered yellow flames in the pale sunlight.
The Orchid Festival is in the Princess of Wales Conservatory, which also contains succulents and cactii.
I do love a good cactii
This one was waving at me....
and this one was either wearing a rather fetching hat, or a wig.
The orchids were many
and stunning.
There were orchid-giraffes,

Orchid maned lions,
and I did get a little over-happy at the sight of the bird-sculptures.
so many beautiful flowers to ooh and aah to.

and then we turned a corner and my friend almost shouted in delight....
..... 'balls in the sky!!!!'.  We both then started laughing as I tried to explain they were kokadama and how they are made.  I think the impact of this discussion could be shorted to 'they look great, I have not the time or patience'.
We enjoyed wandering around the conservatory, we did not enjoy quite so much the soundtrack that appeared to contain noises that we decided was the child of a squeaky supermarket trolley and pan pipes being dragged down a squeaky surface.  We know it was there for atmosphere, but it was quite jarring. (sorry Kew).
Off out into the gardens again and suddenly I saw The Hive.  Now this was the sole reason I was going to visit in 2020, I wanted to see this structure that is a weave of lights and sound.
It was amazing and I was so glad I finally got to see it.
We wandered around to Kew Palace,
I paused to admire this beautifully pruned tree.  Not sure what it is, but it is beautiful.
I enjoy looking at gardens in winter, the formal garden behind the palace was looking good, this is a test of a good garden when the bare bones of it look good.
Meanwhile this chap was feeling like he was missing something....
We admired this beautiful structure.
Then we started to wend our way back towards the gates and home, smiling at the spring flowers.

We had the most fabulous afternoon, it was great to catch up with a good friend, wander around a beautiful space, admire plants and laugh, a lot.  (oh, and if you're reading this, you know I lost the map within 10 minutes of arrival, I got home with 2 maps, one in the wrong pocket.....doh!)

and of course I now need to go back as we did not the half of it.

The Orchid Festival is open until the 5th March 2023.

Take care and be kind.

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  1. I was only there once, and we saw but a very small portion of it. I must get back there someday. The Orchid Festival looks luscious...


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