I recently decided to devote a day to visiting Kew Gardens, which has long had a home on my To-Visit list but which I always thought of as too far away to be a spur-of-the-moment activity. This was dumb, as getting anywhere in London is usually 45 minutes, and that’s exactly how long it took me to get to Kew Gardens on the Overground. I really showed myself, huh!
Even though it was mid-February, the weather was stunningly beautiful, sunny, and just cold enough to be invigorating but not enough to be a hindrance to walking around outside.
My friend Megan joined me, and we began by touring the frighteningly high Treetop Walkway (whose creator had the bad judgment to make the entire thing, stairs and all, out of see-through and occasionally wobbly steel mesh), but the view was mostly of still-dormant trees and bushes. In summer, I am sure it is wonderful and I’ll have to steel myself (ha, ha) to return to the Treetop Walkway again. Note that the picture is from when I was safely back on solid ground.
Then we headed to the Palm House, which is understandably kept at tropical temperatures. Megan’s glasses were not prepared for the immediate switch:
The Palm House felt and smelled like tropical adventure, and made me yearn for my time spent travelling in South America and Megan for her time in Africa, both of which had their own sections in the greenhouse.
Upon leaving the Palm House, we encountered a well-kept garden (shown below), a pond, and a posh old house because… England.
Then came the main attraction: the special Orchids exhibit in the Princess of Wales Conservatory, which was only running for a month and was designed with the influence of Brazil’s Carnival celebrations. I love orchids, though have never understood how not to kill them when they are in my care, and this exhibit was a marvel of color, variation, and green-thumb skills.
I even bought myself a white and magenta dappled orchid at the gift shop, inspired into thinking I could manage not to kill it. Time will tell, but so far it’s still kicking!