The British do gardens well. Kew is beautiful anytime, but spring is fabulous with blossoming trees, elaborate beds of tulips, and expansive lawns. I think that the scale of the place is one of it’s biggest surprises. The grounds are immense with trees and walks as far as you can see. We were there mid-week and not too many tourists, just the usual the garden touring ladies in tweeds and sturdy shoes, endless chattering school groups in uniforms and caps.
It was Emma and Max’s first time there (Emma’s been before, when we took her at 9 months) so we had lots to discover. Both kids are so happy outdoors and were enchanted as I with the pink trees. Unlike in Tokyo where Sakura sighting is an (almost) sacred event worthy of dignified picnics and parties, at Kew we walked among the trees, and threw petals at each other.
I love the conservatories. Their Victorian majesty so proud and white against the acres of green lawns. They are quite audacious– want to have a Rainforest in England? Sure you just have to build a really big house and keep it warm and wet! The old technology of glass green houses, uses big hot water pipes running along the walls to keep the place steamy. The old spiral staircases show their age but still take us up to the gallery walkways so we can see the palms from above.
The last time I visited Kew was with my sisters when I was about Emma and Max’s age. It was summer and the waterlilies room was muggy, but I remember the giant lily pads vividly. Visiting there today with the kids was funny because it was just as I remembered it. The lilly pads are so gigantic it looks like you could sit upon them. It’s easy to see why they were featured in a fairy tale!
On another note, we’re having some trouble with internet here. Our connection is really slow and it’s driving me mad to get work done. Emma’s got to finish her OHS placement tests by Wednesday so we may not get out tomorrow.