My birthday at RBG Kew

July 13, 2013

It’s been tradition for the past decade that on each birthday I get a visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. I love it here. This year my birthday fell on the hottest day of the year so far, but we bravely set off thru 33 degree weather, a huge traffic jam on the M4 and our one hour drive to Kew stretched to 2 1/4.

But here we are!
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And just in time for lunch. First thing we did is walked past the glasshouses, clear across Kew, to the Orangery Restaurant for lunch. Each year things at Kew change. This year the theme is “grow” and veggies are being planted in flower beds. It’s a wonderful sight. In front of the Orangery Restaurant is this beautiful wildflower meadow in full splendour.

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Of course, to me it didn’t matter a hill of beans if it was the hottest day of the year, I’m having tea! The barista who prepared my tea somehow broke the tea bag and I had a little fortune in the bottom of my cup.

Robert read it and said it looks like me and a wall and I have to get over the wall. I looked and saw me painting a painting on an easel. Anyone read tea leaves out there? Any visions? 🙂

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Just outside the Orangery were the most fantastic raised veggie beds all full of plump veggies and herbs with seating areas and trellises. I told R I want a garden like this, he said “easy!” I’ll hold him to that. 🙂

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Next we walked thru the walled gardens. We found a little pergola under a tree and had a rest. Perfect viewing spot. I’m not a big fan of grasses used in flower beds but am always surprised at how lovely they look when I see them planted like this. Maybe I need to investigate grasses more.

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In the next walled garden, the Duke’s Garden, I found the absolutely most perfect rose in the world.

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The name is Rosa Filipes Kiftsgate. It is a Cotswold found, David Austin bred rose, and it is the most spectacular climber I’ve ever seen.

It has these panicles of a hundred fragrant flowers all so soft and creamy and romantic.

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Go order one right now! I’m serious! Look at the size of my hand up against one panicle. Order two! Couldn’t you just die?

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After I recovered from the rose and the walled gardens, I wanted to see the glasshouses but R had had enough and decided to flake out under a tree for how ever long it took for me to visit the glasshouses. I don’t blame him. There was a lot of flaking out, having picnics and general happenings under trees today.

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I visited the Palm house and the Temperate house but it was absolutely suffocatingly hot in there even with the misters going, so I didn’t stay long.

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I walked thru the rose gardens and came on a beautiful tea party, but that post will wait for Tuesday 😉


Then from the rose gardens to the waterlily house.
This is my favourite glasshouse.

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It looks like the Victoria will have several blossoms this year. Have you ever seen those Victorian photographs of children standing on the Victoria’s leaves? That must have been fun for them. Bet they felt like little water nymphs.

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Then thru the woodland garden, past the little lake in front of the Palm house, down to the place where we always end our visit…

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The Marianne North Gallery. I’m completely in love with this little gallery and with the paintings of Marianne North. She was the most prolific and well travelled Victorian artist (1830-1890). She described and captured hundreds of species and, some so newly discovered to the Victorian era, that they were named after her. She was a rich women who travelled the world, including Canada, was a friend of Darwin’s and remains the only woman in England to have a permanent solo exhibit in a gallery. (A little like Canada’s Emily Carr) We sat here for a very long time, (partly because of the air conditioning…lol), and took in all this beauty; the hundreds of paintings, the different species of wood panelling, the murals, the tiled floor, the whole unbelievably breathtaking beauty of it.

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And then, we went home. 🙂

A boot sale Sunday
The golden hour for the WordPress weekly photo challenge

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  • Reply rarasaur July 13, 2013 at 11:27 pm

    Happy birthday!! Lovely pictures, looks like you had fun! 🙂 xo!!

    • Reply Veronica July 14, 2013 at 2:52 am

      Thank you Rara. 🙂 We had a terrific time.

  • Reply Kate North July 14, 2013 at 2:21 am

    Happy (slightly belated) birthday! I love Kew as well, and go there several times a year as we live fairly close by, but it’s not nearly so nice on birthday as it is on yours (mine being in the depths of November). Looks like a lovely day out!

    • Reply Veronica July 14, 2013 at 2:54 am

      Hi Kate, you lucky girl! 🙂 I’m in Oxfordshire so a bit of a slog to get there, but so worth it. It was easier when my parents still had the flat in Swiss Cottage.

      Hey, Robert’s a November baby too. November people are so lovely. 🙂

  • Reply forestpoppy July 14, 2013 at 2:28 am

    What a lovely trip. I have never been to Kew but do hope to one day. That climbing rose is just beautiful – spectacular and delicate at the same time. Happy birthday. Juliex

    • Reply Veronica July 14, 2013 at 2:55 am

      Hi Julie, thank you so much. I hope you get to go, but wait till the weather cools a little. Babies and this hotness is possibly too much. 🙂

  • Reply michellepond July 14, 2013 at 4:08 am

    So beautiful! What a wonderful way to spend a birthday.

    • Reply Veronica July 14, 2013 at 5:46 am

      Thank you Michelle, it really is. Everyone should spend their birthday in a garden I think. 🙂

  • Reply July 14, 2013 at 5:46 am

    Wow, so much beauty. I can tell that this area is full of humidity. Otherwise, how could all the beautiful plants and flowers grow so much? Even though it was hot for you, I’m glad you shared your photos with us. It is wonderful. I tried to read the tea leaves and what I saw was a gypsy dancer with her holding her full skirt out to the sides and was thoroughly enjoying the dance of freedom.

    BTW, who is Robert? You can tell I haven’t been a follower of your blog for very long. He looks like a very nice man.

    Enjoy the rest of your visit to England.


    • Reply Veronica July 14, 2013 at 6:47 am

      Hi Marrianna, how are you doing sweetie, I have to go catch up with you and find out. 🙂 Robert is my partner and we live half and half between Vancouver and Oxfordshire. Well, OK, not exactly half and half, some of us are more half in England and others more half in Canada, but we’re doing our best. I absolutely love the idea of the Gypsy dancer and the freedom dance. Thank you so much for forecasting that for me. (Much better than a wall…lol) Hugs X

  • Reply Johanna July 14, 2013 at 6:19 am

    Hi Veronica,
    Happy belated Birthday. What a great idea to visit Kew Gardens. I was there once many many years ago. It was fabulous. Thank you for taking us on tour.
    Best greetings, Johanna

    • Reply Veronica July 14, 2013 at 6:52 am

      Thank yous o much Johanna. 🙂

  • Reply Diane July 14, 2013 at 6:43 am

    Happy Birthday, and what a special location to spend the day celebrating. I could totally get lost there for a day or two in all that beauty.

    • Reply Veronica July 14, 2013 at 6:53 am

      Thank you so much Diane. 🙂 One day really isn’t enough at Kew. I think I’ll go back in a couple of weeks. 🙂

  • Reply Lavender Cottage July 14, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    Happy birthday Veronica, Kew Gardens is a fabulous place to be to celebrate. The frogs in our pond would love those big lily pads.

    • Reply Veronica July 15, 2013 at 3:24 pm

      Thank you so much Judith. 🙂 Oh, wouldn’t it be great to have a lily glass house like this with frogs in it? Do your frogs sing? The ones at our cabin do.

  • Reply daryledelstein July 15, 2013 at 4:27 am

    belated but heartfelt wishes for your birthday .. i think you should celebrate all month!

    • Reply Veronica July 15, 2013 at 3:24 pm

      Thank you so much Daryl; what a good idea! 🙂

  • Reply Sara v July 15, 2013 at 7:32 am

    Fabulous, gorgeous and FABULOUS!! I love that gallery–I walk it for hours. And lily pads and roses oh my!! Happy Happy Birthday to you, too!! 🙂

    • Reply Veronica July 15, 2013 at 3:25 pm

      Thank you so much Sara. I can’t get enough of those gardens 🙂

  • Reply frizztext July 15, 2013 at 8:02 am

    happy birthday! …and for sure a wonderful location to visit on birthday!

    • Reply Veronica July 15, 2013 at 3:26 pm

      Thank you Fizz, it is the best place. 🙂

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