London’s Kew Gardens

“We want to live in a world where plants and fungi are understood, valued, and conserved.”

I want to live in that world, too.

During our stopover in London, we visited England’s famous Kew Gardens, which were founded in 1759 and opened to the public in 1840. They house the “largest and most diverse botanical and mycological collections in the world” with more than 30,000 different kinds of plants, not to mention the more than seven million preserved plant specimens in Kew Garden’s herbarium. No wonder it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site!

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Kniphofia, which are also known as “red hot pokers.” Sometimes called “torch lilies,” they’re one of my mother’s favorite plants to grow

Kew’s 300 acres (121 hectares) of gardens are located half an hour outside the center of London and are open to the public seven days a week. Admission is £17.75 (approximately $24 USD) for adults, and if you arrive early (they open at 10 a.m. every day), you’ll get more than your money’s worth during a daylong visit.

In addition to the massive variety of gorgeous plants, Kew Gardens is also the site of Kew Palace, home to King George III and family.

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Dressmaker’s dummies representing King George III and Queen Charlotte’s 15 children

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A gown worn by Queen Charlotte

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A painting of Kew Gardens’ Royal Pagoda on display at Kew Palace, one of the numerous Royal Collection Trust items available for viewing

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Kew Palace includes a number of Queen Charlotte’s noteworthy sayings, which were very progressive for her time (she died in 1818). Behind the palace, you’ll find her stunning formal gardens alongside the palace’s extensive herb garden. A number of plants used for the betterment of her and King George III’s health during their lives are still grown there.

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As Mike and I toured the palace gardens, Ben found a quiet spot for some inspired sketching.

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We spent an entire day exploring Kew Palace, the Queen’s Garden, the Orangery, the Great Broad Walk Borders, the Palm House, the Rose Garden, the Pagoda Vista, King William’s Temple, the Holly Walk, the Temperate House, the Treetop Walkway, the Mediterranean Garden, the Rhododendron Walk, and the Royal Kitchens. Despite all that, we only saw about a third of this magnificent attraction.

I loved it so much that I actually took a look at volunteer opportunities.

Until my next visit to explore the vast and awe-inspiring remains, I’ll leave you with these lovely images of a very lovely day in London.

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Vibrant alstroemeria along the Great Broad Walk Borders

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Potted geraniums outside the Palm House

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