Just for a change: magnolias at Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens magnoliaWhen 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. Continue reading

2015 Cherry Blossom April Update – Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens Prunus ShirotaeI was surprised when I went to Kew Gardens a few days ago. I expected to see the cherry blossom walk (which earned Kew its top spot in my London Cherry Blossom Guide) in full flower, but to be honest, it’s actually still about a week away from its peak. Don’t get me wrong – there’s plenty of wonderful blossom to be seen, but that moment when the sheer mass of it all is overwhelming is yet to come. So what do you get if you go now? Continue reading

Snowdrops and Orchids at Kew Gardens

Snowdrops and orchidsIt’s very temping in February, at the first hint of warmth in the air, to start thinking that spring is just around the corner. Even though you know that icy winds and snow can still be lying in wait, you start to crave the colour and life of spring. They know this at Kew Gardens so they’ve made February their orchid month. You can immerse yourself in the exuberant luxury of the orchid house, while outside, under the trees, the first harbingers of spring make their  appearance. Continue reading

Happy Tanabata – again!

Tanabata at Kew GardensHappy Tanabata, for the second time this year. Tanabata again? What’s going on? Well, the Tanabata festival falls on the seventh day of the seventh month. So most places celebrate it on the seventh of July, like the Japan Society- led Tanabata festival on the South Bank that I wrote about before. But not all calendars are the same – by the lunar calendar August counts as the seventh month, so here we are celebrating Tanabata all over again. Continue reading

The Japanese Landscape at Kew – the definitive tour

Kew Gardens Japanese Landscape It’s all too easy to visit gardens without knowing much about them and come away still knowing very little. That’s what I’ve often done with the Japanese landscape garden at Kew. But not any more; thanks to a tour led by one of Kew’s specialist horticulturists, I’ve learned a massive amount and I’m going to share it with you now. It’s the expert’s guide, straight from the horse’s mouth.  Continue reading

Looking for cherry blossom? You’ve come to the right place!

Kew Gardens Cherry BlossomIt’s cherry blossom season again, and time for my annual cherry blossom report. No, it’s not a guide – I did that last year and if that’s what you want then go straight to London Parks Cherry Blossom Top Five which tells you all you need to know about finding cherry blossom in London. This year I’ve decided to just show you some of the fabulous cherry blossom that is in bloom right now at Kew Gardens, my all-time favourite cherry blossom viewing spot. Enjoy! Continue reading

Orchids and Cherry Blossom at Kew

Kew Gardens orchids

We planned our trip to the orchids show at Kew Gardens months ago, me and my twitter friends, and we chose early March in the hope that the endless winter rain might have come to an end by then – which explains why we only got to the show right at the end so I can’t suggest that you go too. But our patience certainly paid off – the orchids positively glowed in in the sunshine, and as a bonus there was some early cherry blossom in bloom too. Hello spring! Continue reading

Kew Gardens in Summer

Kew gardens Japanese Landscape

Last week I took a trip down to the other end of town for a day out at Kew Gardens, visiting the lovely Japanese Landscape garden and Kew Palace. I’ve never visited the palace before (it’s actually inside Kew Gardens and they only recently changed the rules so you could get in without paying extra) but I reckoned it would be perfect on a hot day. Continue reading

A Lesson in Bonsai

Bonsai at Kew GardensOnce again the Japan Society came up trumps with a great trip to Kew Gardens to learn about bonsai. And again I have to make a confession – though I’ve been to Kew a lot and was sure I’d seen all the Japanese stuff there (Chokushi Mon, Minka House, Japanese Landscape Garden – done!) I’ve never been to look at the bonsai.  Continue reading

Best cherry blossom in London at Kew Gardens

Cherry blossom at KewYes, it’s official – having just spent a wonderful sunny day at Kew Gardens looking at the cherry blossom I can confirm that it’s definitely the best place in London to see cherry blossom. And it’s in bloom now, so get down there as fast as you can and do my… Continue reading