Saturday, December 8, 2018

Kew - and some Christmas shopping

I've not long been home from today's visit to Kew; where for a bit the sun shone and the rain largely kept away (till I got home)  and I managed some Christmas shopping, result!

some weeks ago when I was at Kew later than normal I was struck by the pretty street lights across Kew Bridge but missed the photo.  Today they were standing out well against the cloudy (but also some blue,) sky

 and further along the road the bare branches also stood out against the sky..
 when I got let inside at 10, the sky was blue!

 as the sun was shining I went a different way to start with and headed round the end of the Palm House
 always love a silhouette-y type picture here

and headed towards the lake...
 past the Meditteranean garden

think these might be Cypress fir...

 and the "glitter ball" 

 I was rewarded!

 you know how much I love this view with the sun out on the water

On the bank at the other side of the lake, the swans were preening and preparing for a swim (well one of them went in)

 it swam under the bridge a couple of times.  It's partner was still on the bank.
 maybe they'd had a row!

 I headed up the path towards the Temperate House, past the Treetop Walkway,
 but I was unable to go up as it was closed for maintenance

 The Temperate House in the sun
 inside the TH, close up of a big pot!

 view from above
 and down onto the waterfall
 these are winding round the spiral staircase on the down stairs (you go up one set and down the other to avoid collisions)

 closeup of the ironwork on the staircase
 and empty path
 loving this orange beauty, it's growing well and I love it against the white of the pillars (as you saw last time too)

the light was playing

 love the blue backdrop from the sky through the window/roof

 Large palm at the end of the TH
 another empty path (this was just luck, there were plenty of people in here!)

 then I got stopped in my tracks by this large plant - it was over 6 foot high and had these beautiful white flowers all over it..

Sparrrmania Africana (had to capture the name)  which I also shared on FB

 some of the buds were still to open..

 but some were fully open, and the centres were beautiful

 as I turned round I noticed how the sun was lighting them from top left (in the pic)

just stunning! 

 towards the middle section of the TH were these red beauties, dripping with pollen on the petals.

 and I saw one lady bending down in amongst the roots of this to find the label (didn't notice what it was for myself!)

 as I left the west end looked almost black and white

 splashes of colourful leaves but mostly apart from the firs, the leaves have fallen now
 creating great shapes

you really get an idea of how big they are at this time of year

I walked towards the cafe and shop to find something to eat...
 although most of the camellias were not yet blooming, this particular one was smothered in white flowers...

and look how many petals have fallen, too!
the Palm House

 despite the now grey sky (above) I decided to eat my cake (cranberry and white chocolate - delicious; and not too sweet)  and hot chocolate - outside on the Verdun bench...

It will probably be the last time I can do that this year... 

As I sat there, a volunteer brought round a small group on their tour of the garden... they admired the cake and I told them the bench was very comfortable, as I swung my legs out of the way so they could read the inscription!

after I'd finished I went and did my Christmas shopping (one for x person, one for me,  one for y person, one for me..) 

and then went to the Palm House to see if the robin was still inside
 past the glorious dogwoods along the side of the pond..
 I could hear birdsong inside, but didn't catch sight of any wildlife!

 the dogwood make a vibrant splash against the now grey of the water

there were a few spits and spots of rain in the air, but fortunately nothing worse

 I headed down the Broad Walk

 one of the large starlike Christmas lights

 mirrored by a skeleton of a plant in the border

 no real colour left now, just seed heads (which are gorgeous nevertheless)

 Viburnum flowering
 and a newly planted red-stemmed acer
 from the other side, the big baubles on the fir tree in the background look like they're hanging on the acer
 with the leaves gone, you can see the palm house from angles you can't in summer

 Inside the Princess of Wales glasshouse,

looking for the chinese water dragons, but they were all hiding today

 plenty else to see though

 including some orchids

 and unfurling ferns

 and this, just inside the door to the POW,  that I love but always have trouble photographing, for some reason it is really hard to get in focus...

 outside a quick look at the alpine house

 and the grass garden

blowing in the breeze
 which also gave me trouble with the strawberry tree (that I have never noticed before!)

 walking back to the Hive, I saw patches of orange in the leaf litter under a large tree


they were hard to spot

 the wisteria on the other side of the path,  which in spring is always beautiful, revealing it's twisted stems

 cut back through to the Broad Walk and making my way home.

Large firs,
standing out against the sky

 as I turned the corner to the path to the exit, I saw these green fruits (I suppose, as the label says it's Japanese bitter orange) 

 outside and on the way back to the station,  a large London Plane tree
and a bearded clematis that I always admire, on the edge of someone's garden!

this time I still had my camera ready.

Thanks for joining me again. 
Now, who's going to write my Christmas cards for me????