Saturday, May 5, 2018

Temperate House re-opens - Kew, Bank Holiday Saturday

Today is the day I (and everyone involved at Kew Gardens, no doubt) has been eagerly awaiting... the official re-opening of the restored Temperate House.  The largest  surviving Victorian glasshouse in the world.  Also, May sees the start of Kew's early opening (8am) for members, so it was an early start for me!

This is going to be a very photo heavy post (I took more than ever before on a single visit) so sit back and enjoy!
 I saw this amazing cloud shape from the train and was glad when I got off and walked across Kew Bridge to be able to capture it.  It looks like a huge bird flying across the sky.
 8am (and yes, I was first through the gate as they opened) and my traditional starting photo for you - the early spring bedding has gone over, no doubt they will soon be clearing this for the summer planting..

 but the tubs of tulips on the edge of the pond were looking glorious, especially with the blue sky reflecting in the water behind them
 as you know I love the light for photographing Kew at 8 in the morning... I started by walking all round the pond.  the glorious weather helps, obviously!

 barely a cloud in the sky

 the giant gunnera are growing rapidly and were glistening in the sun

just love the reflections in this one

 crouching down to look at the ferns
 masses of white frothy flowers
 Princess of Wales glasshouse, I love the shapes of it
tiny little blue flowers amongst the white masses

 I was delighted to see the peonies flowering - I love them, and apparently so does Meghan Markle, as she is having them in her bouquet when she marries Prince Harry in 2 weeks

 a little dew still on this one
 up in the sky...

Love Lies Bleeding..

 as I walked through the Rock Garden  a lady I'd spoken to at the gate mentioned the wisteria was beautiful - so I headed over,
 via the Duke's Garden and some stunning red tulips, looking so velvety.
 and some more Love Lies Bleeding
 before crossing back across the grass pas the alpine house
 and some pinky bluebells
 she wasn't wrong though, it was stunning!
you'll probably remember this from previous years, it is huge...

 there is a seat inside

looking out at the POW in the distance

 next door, the wildflower meadow around the Hive is starting to flower nicely

 back down along the Broad Walk, love these tulips..
 and the alliums are starting to come out too...
 walking back past the Palm House some little goslings in the sun
another quick look at the pink tulips

quick pitstop for a coffee;  before deciding to head for the Temperate House to see how the tulips were faring in Cherry Walk leading up to the TH....

 well, they were still looking fab (the cherry blossom had finished though, so I am glad I saw it when I did)

to my surprise, I saw that the doors to the Temperate House were already open - I had imagined it not to be opening till 10

 if you're in the UK you may well have seen some news reports of it over the last few days, it was on Breakfast News on Wednesday and apparently the BBC were there today for the official opening, but I missed them

anyhow let's see what it looks like!
 quick look behind me at the tulips..
 and in we go.

as you know if you read my blog, the restoration has taken 5 years..
and every one of the 15000 panes of glass has been replaced.

400 staff and contractors have worked on it, and a staggering 5,280 litres of paint used...

 as it's name implies, the Temperate House features plants from temperate climates all round the world, divided into sections
 It will be fascinating to visit over the months and years ahead as the now-small plants (well some of them are!) grow and obscure the incredible structure, but for now, it is amazingly open and looks HUGE - so much bigger than before; although of course the size of it is the same as before.

everything is clean and new and exciting

 lots of information about some of the 1500 plant species re-planted in the glasshouse
 down one of the side pathways...

 just love the architecture
 and seeing through to neighbouring sections - all inter-connected as it is a continuous glasshouse (hence being the largest in the world)
 waterfalls - you can hear the water all over, I expect as the plants grow, this will soften the sound, but for now it was wonderful
 restored spiral staircases at either end of the main central section up to a (narrow) pathway where you can walk round..

 quick change of lens to get it all in

lets head up the stairs now...

 you can see how it's laid out; it is very open
each square features a different region
 love the structure

 and you get an idea of the size

 Strelitzia - bird of paradise plant...

huge tubs of daisy like flowers
 one of the first photos I ever took that really got me hooked on photography, was in my parents garden lying on the grass looking up into a clump of similar flowers...

 outside and another look at the tulips again,

 can't resist a load more photos of them!

 before walking round the outside to the "front door" of the TH... where I saw the BBC cameraman (I think) leaving.. my friend Lesley messaged that she'd seen it on the news and was looking for me  - if only I'd been a few minutes earlier!

 loved the pattern of the water - the grass has been relaid outside after all the machinery had been camped on this area for 4 years, so no wonder it needs watering!

 I've always loved the stonework on the top of the glasshouse, and they look fabulous now

 10 o'clock now - yes, all these and still only 10 -  so the gardens are now open to the public and they were streaming to the Temperate House...

I headed away..


 headed across the grass to the Palm House...
 here I am, laden down with lenses! 

 inside the Princess of Wales house,
 reflections of palms in the pond
 the jade vine is still going

 I spied a web...
 and amazing shapes
 and fabulous colours

 and unfurling fern fronds..
 water features..
 that wisteria again, told you it was huge

I remembered I should go and check the bluebells again, so headed back through the gardens,
past loads of wildflowers

 and a lot of new acers

 sun shining through leaves..

 dandelion in the grass.  was so tempted to blow it to the wind...
 lichen on a bench
 beautiful mallard preening himself
 no words needed

wasn't sure if this was sap dripping, or they'd used some kind of glue over a cut off branch,   high up a tree 

there was a branch lower down that had been cut, that was sticky to the touch, but didn't have this dripping going on...

I saw movement out of the corner of my eye, and as I turned round this fox ran out of the shrubbery across the grass

 finally made it back to the wild bluebells in the woodland area

 wild garlic (I think)

 another dandelion

 leaving the woodland area, you walk back past....
 the temperate house... couldn't resist another look

they haven't quite finished the landscaping round the back, as you see!

 lots of people up on the walkway
 even the grills round the planted areas looks good

and some final blossom outside, on my way out and home to rest (although its taken me an hour and a half to upload these photos!)

well done for staying this far,

I can't believe I've pruned over 440 photos into just these "few"


Lin said...

Wow wow wow Helen. Lovely sunny happy piccies those reflections are fantastic.. Love the little goslings and the fox good shot lol that birds of paradise is beautiful xx

Angela Curror said...

Oh WOW - how wonderful - love the light and the blue sky - everything looks so fabulous - brilliant!

craftimamma said...

Definitely a WOW post Helen. Stunning photos throughout and those lovely tulips! Now, as you know I'm not a pink girl but those pink tulips are perfection. I have drooled over every pic today I think but I sooooo wish I could sit under that breathtaking wisteria! Good timing on your part for the fox pic and the reflections in the lake are beautiful. What a fabulous start to your summer visits.

Lesley Xx

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

Personally, I thought the Palm House plantings looked good, full, and lush. I can't believe the plants will soon be pulled. LOVE the tulips and that view of the Alpine House and adjoining Rock Garden.

I finally realized why the tulips in the meadow look so different. The tall grasses cover up the leaves we normally associate with the bulbs. DUH!!

I am in love with the newly refurbished Temperate House (TH). What a beautiful place. What got me was how many people were on the top level as you were leaving, versus how many were there when you first got there.

One question. I thought I read they found places to keep the plants while the TH was being worked on. It appears these are all new. Is that the case?

I'm thrilled you took me on this venture today, and I am SO glad your membership includes the early morning when there are fewer visitors. I was very impressed with all your photos from inside the TH and loved each one, including both plants and architecture. Thank you, thank you for sharing these.

Virginia said...

Wow that was an epic wander around, thank you for sharing your epic photos. I love the jade vine and the glasshouse is spectacular.

I hope you are enjoying the lovely weekend


Neet said...

Beautiful flower photography as always Helen. Just love the photos with the reflections, you always capture them perfectly. The wildlife, well, perfect. And the Temperate House, you waited for it and now have captured it at its best for your and our enjoyment. Thanks! Xx
Hugs Neet x

Miriam said...

Such amazing photos as usual....and how lovely to be there for the official reopening. I so love looking at your photos!

Marit said...

Wowzah!!! Living in the Netherlands, I never heard of the Temperate House but what a beautiful place it is!!! If I ever visit the UK again, it will be on my wishlist. You gave me a lot of beautiful 'looks' already (you take wonderful photos!) but I would love to 'smell the flowers' too. Thanks for pointing out this wonderful post in your woyww-post!

pearshapedcrafting said...

Loved this visit especially as you showed the gunnera which was just sprouting only 3 weeks ago! The temperate house does look amazing - we will have to go back one day!Hugs,Chrisx