When I was at Kew Gardens last week I took at look at the little blackboard by the entrance on which they write what’s worth seeing that day. It said magnolias, and I have to admit it was right. I’ve never thought of going to Kew for the magnolias before, but they are spectacular, so I thought I’d share some pictures with you.
Magnolias are interesting plants. As a plant family it apparently dates from before the ice age and is so old that it predates the arrival of bees, so the flowers are pollinated by beetles. That accounts for how thick and tough they are, beetles being clumsier than bees in seeking out the pollen.
Many of the magnolia varieties we know today were brought over from China and Japan by eighteenth century botanists, although there’s a whole American branch of the magnolia family too.
At Kew they have some beautiful magnolia near the Elizabeth Gate, handy if you’re planning on having lunch at the Orangery, but the best of them are to be found near the Princess Walk that runs through the centre of the gardens.
All told, Kew has over two hundred and fifty types of magnolia.