One of the things I enjoy most about London is the amazing choice of green spaces where you can go free of charge, to relax, to simply gaze at the huge old trees, to lie on the green lawns, to observe the ducks, or play around with the squirrels. From Richmond to Greenwich Parks, to the more central Hyde Park, Green Park and St. James’ Park, to Regent’s Park, and Hampstead Heath, Primrose Hill in the north. Oh, it is indeed lucky to have such a choice, to be in the big city and have the privilege to let the greenery cleanse the air you breathe, the rustle of leaves to attenuate the sounds of cars in the streets.
However, while London spoils us with a lot of free green feasts, there are still certain places that will charge you a fee for a visit. And one of those places is the Royal Botanical Gardens, also known as Kew Gardens, named after the neighbourhood Kew. As the name states, these gardens are the property of the nobility, and date back to the 18th century, when Princess Augusta, mother of King George III, founded a nine-acre botanical garden. Today, the palace is a scientific institution for plant and fungal research, and the Gardens are a playground for trees, plants of all species and climates, to grow, to be studied and conserved.
This is a place where you can spend a whole day without even feeling the hours passed, which was exactly what happened to me. Especially when a part of the garden is dedicated to Japanese Landscape. The huge pagoda, the replica of Chokushi-Mon (Gateway of the Imperial Messenger), the gravel garden, all of this will make your spirit ready for quiet reflection. What it did to me though was raise my excitement of finally visiting Japan one day, as I was supposed to have done last year. And Japan was exactly the main reason why I decided to visit the gardens now, after having lived in London for almost six years – to celebrate the start of the new season, Kew Gardens is holding a Japanese Autumn Festival, with a special exhibition on Japanese landscaping, and a new menu on its main restaurant.
I’m mostly drawn to textures when visiting Botanical Gardens, so I took some close up shots of the plants that interested me the most, specifically inside the temperate and sometimes unbearable hot glass houses.
And that is all from Kew Gardens. I could have taken a lot more pictures, but I mostly wanted to enjoy the nice weather and potentially the last warm weekend before the winter kicks in and it becomes impossible to spend more than two hours without freezing outside 🙂