A Sunday Morning Walk in Kew Gardens: August


It was a bit hit and miss whether I’d make it to Kew Gardens this morning for my August post in the A Year in Kew series on the blog. After yesterday’s glorious day of summer, rain was forecast for today from late morning. But, with a busy week ahead, it was rather a case of now or never for the August post … so there I was at Kew in time to go through Victoria Gate with the crowds as it opened at 10.00 a.m. Once inside, as you can see from the photo above, it looked doubtful I would get round far before the rain came. And I hadn’t brought my umbrella! (Being a city person, I don’t own ‘rain gear’ – when it rains, I stay inside!) However, I was lucky. It even brightened a bit as I walked on and the rain didn’t come until I was back home, sitting at my desk, ready to write this post!


What I noticed immediately was how the Gardens were already stepping into autumn, even though we’re still in August. But the weather has definitely been autumnal of late! I saw these little crab apples on a Malus tree soon after coming through the entrance. And this was a theme that continued on my walk: flowers turning to berries and fruit. I had to search quite hard for colour, although, as always, Kew had beautifully planted out beds near the Palm House.


Near this bed likes the Broad Walk. I’ve been watching the renovation going on all year and imagined that the walk would be full of bright herbaceous flowers come summer. But that didn’t happen and today as I looked down its rather bleak view, I saw a sign that told me the renovation wouldn’t be complete until Summer 2016.


I’m sure it will be wonderful when done and no doubt I shall want to add another post to this series, even though we’ll be into another year! Meanwhile, there were herbaceous borders to be found offering a pleasing sight of colour. The hostas were flowering well:


I’ve given up trying to grown hostas. They always get quickly eaten by slugs. I don’t like to use any chemicals in my garden and would be worried anyway that Bella the Cat might eat slug pellets. I’m therefore always immensely impressed when other people succeed with their hostas! There were a lot of these magnificent canna lilies around in both beds and large pots.


And there were roses too:


There was fantastic edible colour to be found the in Kew on a Plate garden. Look at this beautiful chard:


I love to eat chard, so now it’s in season I’ll have to look out for some in the farmers’ market. I saw some bright yellow flowers too and thought they were courgettes until I look through the large leaves and found a small pumpkin nestling on the ground.


Stepping out of the kitchen garden though an arch into the Rock Garden, I saw pretty little cyclamen growing:


Moving on round the top end of the Princess of Wales Conservatory, I passed the Grass Garden. I’m sure these grasses must have grown up a lot since I was last there about 3 weeks ago as they were much more noticeable. They were also being whipped around by the wind.


I always like to go across to the lake and today I cut across the grass to pass the Henry Moore sculpture of Reclining Mother and Child.


There was a brilliant Henry Moore exhibition at the Gardens in 2007 and it remains one of the most exciting and enjoyable art exhibitions I’ve ever been to, being able to wander round the gardens and see 28 large Moore sculptures in a perfect setting. I branched slightly to the right from here to approach the Sackler Crossing from the far side. Near the bridge some almost fully grown cygnets, still with their grey feathers that one could see starting to turn white, were sitting with a swan I assumed to be their mother, and some geese.


I crossed the bridge and started making my way back to Victoria Gate. I passed a few ilex aquifolium – holly trees. By Christmas, these berries will be a deep red ready to brighten the festivities.


I also passed the Temperate House, closed for renovation until 2018.


It was definitely time to go home and not risk getting caught in the rain any longer. I made my way out via the small nursery and shop and remarkably managed to avoid spending any money – it’s always so tempting as their plants are so good.


I had a nice walk but it wasn’t the most exciting walk so far this year, and not just because of the inclement weather. Even though I’m definitely a ‘summer’ person, it made me long a little for autumn and I can’t wait to go back next month and see whether the glorious colours of autumn are arriving.

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A lifelong lover of good food and travel; writer and book editor

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