Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Not Such An Early Start,

we were all having a day off today,

as it was a bank holiday to visit Kew Gardens,

the entrance we used decked out with attractive tubs,

no sooner in the park and it was picture time, the park was founded in 1840 and has become the world's largest collection of living plants,

we stopped first at the gift shop,

to have a look at some of the garden ornaments and goods on offer,

chickens for some reason seem popular in Thailand,

and they are here too,


cakes, tea and coffee,

then off to the palm house,

which had beds of tulips,

in front of it,

opposite the lake,

which had bowls of tulips on the pathway,

there was time for a photo shoot,

meanwhile I had a look at the fountain,

and a few more tulips,

then into the palm house we went,

both Steve and my cameras immediately steamed up,

it was so hot and humid,

just like being back in Thailand,

I took a few pictures of plants, flowers and seeds I had not seen before,

the girls went outside,

Steve and myself carried on snapping away,

then peek a boo!

back to taking a few more pictures,

we then climb to the upper level,

where we spotted more seed pods,

looking down,

and along the elevated walkway,

we were soon joined by the girls,

looking across the palm house walkway,

it was amazing,

to look at the way the building had been constructed all of those years ago, 

we then went into the basement,

to have a look at fresh and saltwater aquatic plants and seaweeds,

many of which can be found on our own shores,

like this sea grass,

a panorama of the main room,

there were also some marine fish in some of the aquariums like this tang,

some shrimp fish,

and a regal or blue tang,

there was a nicely planted freshwater aquarium there as well,

 I spotted this flower actually growing from the trunk of a tree,

it looked strange indeed,

but once opened it looked stunning,

next stop, the waterlily house,

with a show of tulips,

and primulas outside,

so in we went,

past these strange looking fruits or maybe vegetables,

again our cameras steamed up,

but we were soon snapping away,

as many of the lily's,

although similar to ones in Great Britain,

the ones in this hot house,

are much more exotic,

and virtually impossible,

to grow,

outdoors in the UK,

and here is the star of the show, Victoria amazonica, the giant waterlily of the Amazon,

we were alas a few days too early to see it flower, but there it is,

we took another picture of the tulips outside, they looked so nice,

then continued our walk,

around the rear of the palm house,

the girls striking the pose every so often,

looking back the weather did not seem too promising,

the girls wandered off to take some pictures of the cherry blossom,

and there was plenty of it around,

meanwhile this strange looking duck/goose called by,

Diana was so busy taking pictures,

she nearly walked into it!

then it was picture time,

for both of the girls,

well the trees only blossom for once a year,

many of the paths had cherry blossom trees beside them,

we passed this huge tree, almost touching the ground with its lower branches,

then more blossoms on both sides of the pathway,

so time for another pose,

the avenue of tees looked so nice, especially when the wind blew, it looked like a miniature snow storm,

we next came across a field of tulips,

in a variety of coulours,

so a quick picture,

 and one with both of the girls,

although we take them for granted,  Diana just loved the daisies that were everywhere,

we passed a palm,

which had this flower/seed bud that looked most unusual,

then another avenue lined with cherry blossoms, 

but this time,

with pink flowers,

time for a rest,

then a jump for joy,

the two girls with the blossom,

and again in panorama mode,

we were heading to the high walkway,

it looked a long way up,

and it was,

a panorama from the top,

I did not walk around much, given my dread of heights, making things worse the metal mesh floor was see through,

on our way down in the lift,

on the ground floor,

there is a subway that shows different parts of the tress and ecosystems,

one of the park workers going the rounds,

some of the trees here as you might expect are huge, like this one,

we made our way to the lake,

what appeared to be a solid railing was in fact pieces of metal,

I think the same specie of duck/goose we saw earlier, 

then the bridge had two more visitors,

both coming very close to us, expecting some bread,

this male swan, a cob was patrolling this stretch of water, his mate was on the island with eggs,

then a bit of action,

as two waterbirds got into a bit of a flap,

what we thought was cherry blossom petals,

was in fact daises, when Diana went to have a look,

another goose landed near by to check us out,

a quick pose from the girls,

and we were on our way to the bamboo garden,

which both Steve and myself like,

many have coloured stems,

all seem to have lush heads that sway in the breeze making a most agreeable sound,

Steve has a closer look at some of them,

all bamboos are a type of grass,

easy to grow in most gardens, but they can also be very invasive,

the girls took a rest,

as Steve and myself,

continued our walk,

looking at the different stands of bamboos,

you may have noticed,

that each stand has a circle around it,

each stand is in its own huge circular 'pot' to stop the plant from spreading,

the girls take a rest,

as we enter,

the rhododendron garden,

although still cold,

a number,

have put on a good show,

so if you are in the area, 

have a look,

as so many are in bud,

and a few,

are putting on a great show already,

Diana strikes the pose with miniature rhododendrons,

we continue our walk,

through avenues of trees,

then find a field,

of bluebells,

the Chinese tower in the distance,

we next found this tree,

it was huge,

and covered with flowers,

I think it was a type of hawthorn,

the good news was that there was a bench,

out of the wind, so Steve and myself walked back to the car for our picnic,

first out of the chiller, a bottle of bubbly,

cork nearly out,

meanwhile the girls were busy with the food,

I concentrated on the drinks,

the weather was perfect, the wind had dropped,

and we had a great selection of food, with rolled salmon starters, pork pie, sausage rolls, Scotch eggs, Ginsters, and a selection of sandwiches,

for some reason I had to keep topping my glass up,

lunch over,

a few more pictures,

as we continued our walk,

past the lake again, then disaster, the wind had picked up and blown Kai's hat into the water,

Steve quick as a flash found a pole,

we watched with baited breath,

as Steve struggled with the pole,

then success! wet hat retrieved,

after Steve retrieved Kai's hat we were on our way,

past some of the flower beds,

as we walked,

we then passed a family of geese,

with 5 goslings,

which were all tormented by this family of tourists,

the strange duck/goose made an appearance again,

next stop,

the cactus house,

starting with the living stones, or Lithops as they are known,

some of the plants getting stranger still,

the selection seemed endless,

at some time soon, this aloe I think it is will flower,

the flower head, or I should say bud,

barrel cactus, (Echinocactus grusonii) in abundance,

every step,

taken took us into the arid world of cactus,

just so many to look at,

then a show of cactus in flower,

 next door a different temperature,

 and range of plants,

 more humid and with a pool,

 and a nice couple,

 of tropical lilies,

these blue and white ones especially nice,

 there is a viewing area below the pool,

 which was where we were going next, I took this picture of Diana, it was not until we looked at the picture at home that we noticed a guest in it,

 in the right of the picture a lizard, is it real or fake? we will never know unless we go there again,

 one of the many flowers I like, 

 Medinilla Magnifica, was also in this room,

 we went downstairs to the viewing room for the pool,

 not a lot to see except this South American sucker mouth catfish, (Hypostomus plecostomus),

 but there was a nice display,

 with some poison dart frogs,

 a panorama of the displays by the pool viewing window,

we had now decided to make a move for home,

when we saw these, at first I thought they were plastic flowers, but they were not they were in fact from a jade vine, emerald vine or turquoise jade vine, as they are known, to give the vine it's proper name Strongylodon macrobotrys, it is a species of leguminous perennial liana, a native of the tropical forests of the Philippines,

and if it is not in flower and you are in the jungle in the Philippines this is the stem to look for, look being the operative word, they are getting very rare in the wild due to many reasons,

we continued our way out, past some bluebells,

and the far side of the lake to look at these giant rhubarb plants, (gunnera maculata),

a huge flower/seed pod growing from one of them, the leaves of this plant can grow 5 or 6 feet across,

a last look at the palm house,

a quick goodbye to the swan,

but a quick stop first,

we forgot the ice cream for the picnic, so here it is now,

we had a great day out at Kew Garden, if you are in London or visiting give it a try, apart form looking at so many beautiful blooms all of the walking will keep you fit! many thanks to Steve and Kai for taking us there,

and the blossom was not over yet, as we saw this one on our way home, Kai prepared a huge chilli con carne for us on our return, we watched a movie or two, then for all of us we were off to bed.

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