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 platform...no 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...

26 comments:

  1. Wow, it's just like being there. ALthough I admit I would have done the treetop walkway. Tempted by the Wollemi pine, too, but not at $100+. And it's too big to sneak into the U.S. anyway.

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    1. After hearing that many of you thought we were crazy to have passed up the treetop walkway I asked my husband if he regretted not doing it. The answer was no, in fact we didn't even really discuss it at the time but just walked on by. I guess that means we're well paired!

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  2. The bridge is one of my favourite spaces at Kew. It is fun to run up and down with sticks to clank along the metal posts, it is very musical.

    And shopping at Kew is a joke. They buy their stuff in from the usual nursery suppliers so much of it is often wrongly named plus expensive. Compare it to somewhere like Wisley which has a great nursery. Such a missed opportunity.

    And can't wait for Princess of Wales house, that and the Alpine are my favourites.

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    1. Oh man! Why didn't I think of that? I love the idea.

      Why do you suppose they settle for such sad plant offerings?

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  3. What a wonderful visit! There are so many great plants at kew. The wollemi nobilis is amazing. I have a large potted one that I have not had the nerve to plant - yet. But I'm working up the courage.

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    1. Really!? Where did you get it?

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    2. Brian Minter's store out in Chilliwack BC. I'm positive phytosanitary could be arranged for you. I see them quite often up here.

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  4. Blue skies! The weather that week wasn't great but glad to see that at least it was sunny and bright the day you guys went to Kew. Prices of Wollemi pine ought to come down soon really.

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    1. We had all the skies during our visit: grey and threatening, pouring rain, and the beautiful sunny version.

      The Wollemi pine seems to be another plant like the various Scheffleras, not so available (at any price) here in the U.S.

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  5. That Araucaria araucana is big! A neighbor I haven't met has TWO young ones waiting to be planted somewhere in the garden. Hope they give them plenty of room. And the Lucombe Oak is gorgeous. It made me think of all the oaks that form pastoral and iconic images of the rolling English countryside.

    And I like chestnuts, although I can see how the texture might be off-putting. Guess you needed to be introduced to them at an early age.

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    1. Two? Wow...that's brave.

      My one and only Chestnut experience came at the age of 26ish, it had all the proper ingredients...anticipation, romance of the idea built up over the years, Christmastime in downtown Seattle, paper cones. And then I tasted them...

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  6. Another amazing Kew Wednesday! Beautiful & makes me want to hop on a plane (properly tranquilized of course) and visit. Love the Wollemia nobilis but haven't seen them for sale 'round these parts, have you?

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    1. Sleeping pills are a beautiful thing for long plane rides.

      Hope, not a one.

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  7. I love monkey puzzle trees! I've sometimes wondered what you thought of them, they seem right up your alley. I hear they need lots of room, though. The birch-bark cherry is quite beautiful. It's a good thing the shopping was disappointing. My MIL used to make chestnut stuffing at Christmas, and I have never understood its allure either.

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    1. I too love them, I think the little ones are kind of awkward though. I prefer to enjoy the huge ones I see in others yards around town. Andrew has a running mind map of all the Monkey Puzzles in town. I love it when I find a new one that he didn't know about!

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  8. Great tour, I do like the bridge a lot.

    Amazing how many parts of the world are represented there. I wonder how the Wollemi Pine would work here?

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    1. Good question...but I guess I'd ask when you can grow Bismarckia nobilis with no problem why bother with the Wollemi?

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  9. I had roasted chestnuts in a cone from a street vendor in Paris and they were divine. Could have just been the setting though, because they have never again quite lived up to that first taste.
    Beats me how you could have resisted the treetop walkway, but you have surely done justice to everything else.

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    1. Perhaps I should try them again. Maybe the street vendor in Seattle that I bought mine from didn't know what they were doing?

      If we had been in the jungle then that tree top walkway would have been a must. After all that's where the monkeys would all be!

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  10. What an incredible selection of plants here. This is my kind of place....but the Gunnera!!! It is one of my favorite plants and on my top 10's of must haves.....but it doesn't grow in Tucson:) But it's an amazing plant......great shots:) The squirrels and the swan make wonderful additions:)

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    1. Another case of wanting what we cannot grow. We are all guilty.

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  11. blow me over with a feather...I ve got to go here! how did you get so close to the peacock? hahaa hes bored! what a smart bird! Birchbark too COOL~!...The trees are so huge in England...i love the monkey puzzles..and those darlig squirrels!!Why did you poop out on the walkway? on the walkway?

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    1. Just didn't have the desire I guess...

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    A new site for Gardening Blogs just like yours.

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    Give us a look...

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    1. Good luck to you Andrew, but personally I just don't have time or need for another online activity!

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  13. Careful; of those monkeys. They have been known to steal cameras, after giving the photographer an evil bite!

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