Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

2018 Annual Outing to Kew Gardens

The 2018 outing took place on Sunday 1st July, when the association visited Kew Gardens in London.
57 people enjoyed a very pleasant, but hot day at Kew. 30 of the group went on a 1 hour private, guided walking tour with 2 guides, Veronica Greenwood and Valerie Munro, where we learnt a lot about the history and workings of the gardens. Amongst other areas, we visited the vegetable garden, where we saw a tomato tree. We also went to of the Lily House, where we saw the smallest lily in the world. We also learnt that the Victoria lily, which is the world’s biggest lily with lily pads over 1 metre in diameter, was grown from seed every year. In some of the ponds at Kew black dye is added to the water to make it difficult for herons to see the fish and the dye also enhances the colours of the lilies. The dye doesn’t harm the fish or the plants.

The Temperate House, which had just reopened after a 5-year restoration and is the largest Victorian glasshouse in the world, was spectacular, with many weird and wonderful plants. We didn’t spend too much time in the Palm House as it was very hot, but visitors were able to climb the spiral stairs and walk around the gantry to have a bird’s eye view of the palms. It was here we saw the beehive ginger which looks like bees entering a hive!

The Great Pagoda, which was completed in 1762, was a gift for Princess Augusta, the founder of the botanic gardens at Kew. It is a ten storey octagonal tower, standing at almost 50 metres. The pagoda has been restored, with the original 80 dragons, which originally adorned the roofs, each of which is carved from wood and gilded with real gold. We were too early to go into the pagoda, which was reopening on 13th July, but brave souls wil be able to climb to the top and get spectacular views of the gardens and London. After a hot, tiring, but enjoyable day we were all happy to board our air conditioned coach for the return journey to Desborough.

Bob Freeman