Botanical Llama

As promised last time I’ve finally managed to get round writing up our Kew Gardens expedition. After lazing around on Sunday morning we spent the usual hour discussing where to go or what to do. I am a dreadful decision maker, food, day trips, activities don’t ask me to decide. You’ll age waiting. It’s not because I can’t make up my mind, it’s because I hate making people do things I like but they might not. Unless I book it and invite you to attend… you don’t actually have to come and I won’t be offended but please know I’ll be going regardless. For once we both decided on the same location and set off in the direction of Kew.

Due to the wonderful long daylight hours, the gardens were open until 9pm! This has now changed to 8.30pm so check before you go. We arrived just after lunch so had plenty of time to wander, Llama Supporter is still lame so we took it easy and managed to explore about 1/4 of the grounds. One of many excuses to return to see the rest. As this was my first visit to Kew I was slightly overwhelmed by the size of the place and wanted to make sure we saw a few key displays and areas, so we came up with a route and tried not to get distracted by the winding paths disappearing in different directions.

We decided we had to start at The Hive, if you hadn’t already noticed I am obsessed with saving the bees! I’ve added a link here so you can read more about it. It is an aluminium structure of a beehive, designed by Wolfgang Buttress, in the centre of a wildflower meadow to encourage the bees into the garden. At regular intervals the hive plays the sounds that would be heard inside a working hive.

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From here we made our way towards the Princess of Wales conservatory. This is made up of 10 smaller conservatories, all with a different climate and humidity, from cacti to orchids and the biggest lily pads I have ever seen! It is also home to the Titan Arum, this is one of the largest flowering structures in the natural world and smells like rotting carcass.

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Next we stumbled across the formal family gardens and rose pagodas where we met a very sassy male peacock posing for photos before we headed to the cafe for a pause. I was slightly anxious as to what might be on offer and had been wishing we had packed a picnic but I was pleasantly surprised by the large range of gluten-free cakes on offer! There was actually a choice! I went for the chocolate and beetroot cake, mostly for the pink icing. This was my first experience of beetroot in a cake and wasn’t quite sure what to expect but it was AMAZING. The main issue I have with gluten-free baking is the cake is normally so crumbly… is that a word? It should be with regards to gluten-free baking anyways. But this one held together perfectly thanks to the beetroot! I am now on the hunt for a recipe so I can give it a go at home. If you know of any give me a shout!

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We then set off in the direction of the Palm house and rose garden, unfortunately the Palm house closed just as we got there! The second reason to return. Undeterred we continued towards the Tree top walkway. Westonbirt Arboretum also has one of these structures running through their tree tops giving you a whole new view on the place. The one at Kew was slightly different, this one is much smaller and in a loop so you don’t have to turn round and go back again! By this point poor Llama Supporter was about 8/10 lame so we headed back in the direction of the car through Kew Palace garden which was now completely deserted so we could get snap happy.

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Congratulations if you’re still with me after all that! Many thanks and much love as always. I can’t wait to return for another day with a full picnic hamper and a charged camera! A very successful spontaneous Sunday!

Next time: Dirt Quake!

K x

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