I hadn’t planned to do the February post for my record of Kew Gardens through the year that I’m writing on the blog. I had a reminder marked in my diary to do a follow-up to my January post next week. But Sunday morning walks in Kew are a regular thing for me when I have nothing else planned and the weather is good enough. It was a bit grey when I woke this morning, but after a leisurely breakfast with today’s Observer in Butter Beans first thing …
… on the spur of the moment I decided to head to nearby Kew for a walk before going home. The sun was coming out and the pull of Kew was too great to resist. Once there, I saw that the annual Orchid festival began yesterday (lasting just a month, until 8 March – so be quick!). I used not to like orchids much, but then many years ago someone gave me one as a present and I discovered their wonder – and that this not especially green-fingered blogger was surprisingly good at keeping them! Thus the Kew orchid festival has been a regular springtime delight for some time. This morning it was so quiet when I arrived, I felt I had just had to start clicking away, using my iPhone camera as I hadn’t taken my digital with me. The thought also occurred that I should take my chance with writing this February post while the going was good. Jonathan and Lyndsey’s first baby is due in just over three weeks and life might turn a little too busy for me to be walking quietly round Kew on a Sunday morning for a while. Over a family lunch in Fat Boys yesterday we discussed my being the fallback in case Lyndsey went into labour while Jonathan was at work – the other side of London! I will anyway be picking up their little Yorkie, Zeph, and having him at my house for a day or two (or more?). Yes, definitely writing the February post today seemed like a good plan!
The orchid show – ‘Alluring Orchids 2015 – A Tropical Extravaganza’ – is in the Princess of Wales Conservatory. This is always a good place to escape to if there’s rain and cold outside as you move through warm ‘tropical’ areas. And there’s always some kind of interesting special display, even when it’s not orchid time.
Although orchids are the main attraction, there’s plenty of other wonderful tropical colour too.
However, it’s the orchids I really love and here at Kew you can see the most amazing varieties from phalaenopsis, which is the variety most often seen in shops, to incredible less common varieties, some with tiny flowers; some that you’d barely recognise as orchids; and those with large, blowy, extravagant flowers that only deign to show you their beauty once a year.
Back outside I found that the gardens hadn’t really moved on much from my January visit. There was little colour to be seen; winter was still here. Soon there’ll be a bright display of magnolias but at the moment they are just barely coming into bud:
Crocuses are just showing their heads and I caught a slight suggestion of blue as I walked past some sheltering under some trees:
I never fail to be delighted by the sight of the Sackler Crossing, the wonderful bridge with its beautiful curves that spans the lake. And there was a bit of colour here:
And a peacock taking a walk – here crossing a road – added his own special colour:
Heading back towards the Victoria Gate at the end of my walk, I spied some hellebores in flower:
And a stretch of camellias, which can always be counted on for some early colour, was still in bloom:
Back at the entrance, I couldn’t resist a look round the shop with its large array of beautiful orchids and almost inevitably came home with yet another one to add to my collection!
If you’ve never been to Kew Gardens’ wonderful display of orchids then it’s really a fabulous thing to see. Look at their website for more details: click here. And even though the rest of the gardens are rather low on colour at this time of the year, walking in Kew is always a joy, from its quiet wooded areas to more formal areas or a walk across Sackler Crossing.