Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Kew Wednesdays, Sackler Crossing and "shopping"…

This week's Kew Gardens post is a bit of a mash-up, starting with a couple pictures I took when we first entered the garden and headed towards the Palm House...

Look at that Gunnera! Or were you looking at the serpent?

This is as close as we got to the Pagoda...

Wollemia nobilis (Wollemi Pine), from Australia.

To me it looks like a cross between a Cycad and a Pine tree. My "first ever" sighting was at the University of British Columbia Botanical Garden in Vancouver, BC, a couple of years ago. These were better because you could actually walk up to them and touch them.

"Wollemia nobilis (Wollemi pine) has been dubbed a 'living fossil' as it represents the only remaining member of an ancient genus dating back to the time of the dinosaurs, over 65 million years ago. This fascinating tree was only discovered in 1994, causing great excitement in the botanical and horticultural worlds." (source)

To the Compost Heap! Yes seriously. The Kew's compost heap is "one of the biggest non-commercial heaps in Europe." There is even a viewing we didn't go there.

Nor did we choose to climb up..up...up to the Treetop Walkway.

Araucaria araucana (Monkey Puzzle tree)

Sackler Crossing, named in honor of philanthropists Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler whose donation made construction possible.

I absolutely loved this bridge, the sides can appear solid yet they are actually made of flat bronze posts spaced a good distance apart.

Andrew watching an approaching swan...

Lucombe Oak...

A little history...

And check out that "tree transplanter"...

While we're on the subject of trees with a history this Sweet Chestnut is Kew's oldest tree...

Have you ever eaten a chestnut? I have and when this sign says the nuts are used to provide food for pigs I say that's a perfect use for them.

These little guys were hard at work collecting something, their bushy tails curled up over their backs caught my eye.

Prunus serrula, or Birch-Bark Cherry...

A little fall color from the Mahonia...

Now we're on the other side of the pond (?) that I started this post with, behind the Gunnera. I love this image of the silhouetted plants in the Palm House.

Time to take a break and get a bite to eat in the plaza cafe...

But first, we shop!

Or at least we pretend to, I was not impressed with the plant selection overall.

These Aloe ferox for 2.99 (pounds of course) were a good deal.

But these looked straight out of IKEA, and more expensive too...

Lithops, another of those plants that I just don't "get"...

To an outsider this display seemed so very British...

Oh how I would have loved to take one of these home with me!

Not possible though, and at that price it was nice to not even be tempted.

Finally in the cafe we grabbed a seat by the glass door, not realizing we would be front and center for the entertainment.

This guy had positioned himself so that his movements would randomly trigger the door to slide open.

The sign says nothing about feeding the peacocks...

Such amazing colors!

Next week will start our trek through the Princess of Wales Conservatory, "the most complex conservatory at Kew, with ten computer-controlled climatic zones all under one roof." it's amazing...

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Love ‘em, or Hate ‘em?

Location: University Village Shopping Center, Seattle Washington
Time: Saturday, October 27
Subject: Ornamental Cabbage and Kale


I know some perfectly lovely people who actually like ornamental cabbage and kale. I am not one of them.

Here the fallen leaves distract me from the purple cabbage (kale? both?) so I almost wasn't visually offended by this planting. And yes, the colors really were that bright.

So… love ‘em, or hate ‘em?

Location: Anthropologie, University Village, Seattle Washington
Time: Saturday, October 27
Subject: Staghorn Ferns

I just don’t get the appeal of the Staghorn Fern.

I know they are tremendously popular right now. For me they are more compelling when in a container, rather than mounted on a slab of wood, and I feel like I should like them, but I don’t. However I will say this one actually stopped me in my tracks. I've never seen one this large!

It was only $150. However that container will set you back $598

So… Staghorn Ferns, love ‘em, or hate ‘em?

Location: Ravenna Gardens, University Village, Seattle Washington
Time: Saturday, October 27
Subject: Succulent Wreaths

Another trend that just keeps on keeping on…the mixed succulent wreath or maybe this one isn't a wreath but rather meant for a table top, perhaps to go around a candle holder.

I personally love them, but only if the succulents are affixed in such a way that you can later dismantle the whole thing and root them…what about you? Love ‘em, or hate ‘em?

Finally I’ll end this silliness with a couple more pictures taken at Ravenna Gardens last weekend. Just for the record…I love Ravenna Gardens.