A Grand Day out at Kew.. Pt.1. The Princess of Wales Conservatory. 2013


A Grand Day out: Kew Gardens – Part 1.

The World Famous Palm House at Kew.

The World Famous Palm House at Kew.

Last January, in all the snow and cold, I came up with the idea of a visit to Kew Gardens as soon as was convenient.

I persuaded a work colleague to come with me, and we found a local coach firm that does day trips all over the country to touristy places and was doing a day out to Kew Gardens mid-April, so we booked some seats.  Its easier for us to get to Kew by coach as there is virtually no parking available at their, I never want to drive in London and quite frankly my heap of a car would have surely died en-route.

I’ve taken in access of over 300 photos of my day out so I’m going to chop up the day by Greenhouses visited and blog in parts.  I hope that works out ok.

So we arrived at about 11am on a Thursday Morning, it was cool, damp after some night-time rain and quite overcast. I’ve had to manipulate some of my pictures as they came out a bit dark due to the low cloud cover.

The first Glasshouse visited was the Princess of Wales Conservatory.

The Princess of Wales Conservatory was opened in 1987 by Diana, Princess of Wales. It is the most complex greenhouse at Kew, containing ten computer-controlled climatic zones under one roof.

The two main climatic areas are the dry tropics, representing the world’s warm, arid areas, and the wet tropics,  which has moisture loving plants from rainforests and mangrove swamps. The eight remaining zones include a seasonally dry zone containing desert and savanna plants, plus sections for carnivorous plants, ferns and orchids.

The Princess of Wales Comservatory was designed to lie low in the Landscape.

The Princess of Wales Conservatory was designed to lie low in the Landscape.

The first Micro-Climate upon entry is the Fern Zone.

Splendid big plants

Splendid big plants

There was also a small Coffee plantation, with lots of healthy plants.

There was also a small Coffee plantation, with lots of healthy plants.

Around another wide pathway were more big ferns..

Lots of room and lots of light.

Lots of room and lots of light.

Then on through a glass door into Zone 6 for Tropical Orchids.

There were still plenty in flower.

Many plants were on display behind glass screens.

Many plants were on display behind glass screens.

We also found a sign that indicated that a bit of carving was done on a dead tree-fern by residents of a group of Tropical Islands called Tuvalu.

Carved Tree Fern trunk.

Carved Tree Fern trunk.

We found many Orchid plants positioned out as you might find them in the Tropics.

Naturalistic Plantings.

Naturalistic Plantings.

More gorgeous Plants on display behind glass.

Dendrobium lindleyi

Dendrobium lindleyi

Phragmipedium besseae. (Scarlet Andean Slipper)

Dendrobium kingianum

Dendrobium kingianum

Then through another Door into Zone 7 for tropical Orchids…

Bit warmer in here..!

Pleurothallis tubata from Central america.

Pleurothallis tubata from Central america.

Stunning colours on those Orchids.

Then in through another door into the main tropical section, masses of plants on every surface, the following pictures are just some highlights I photographed.

Titan Arum almost fully in flower, smelt like dog poo to attract flies to polinate it.

Titan Arum almost fully in flower, smelt like dog poo to attract flies to pollinate it.

The Climber Thunbergia lavifolia from Indo-china.

The Climber Thunbergia lavifolia from Indo-china.

Another Climber, a Passion flower.

Passiflora Species.

Passiflora Species.

Now some views across the inside of the area.

Packed with trpoical plants, and everything looked really healthy.

Packed with tropical plants, and everything looked really healthy.

Plants grown on all levels.

Lots of Red Bromeliad and Spathiphyllum flowers.

Lots of Red Bromeliad and Spathiphyllum flowers.

In order to keep the humidity up, there were lots of computer controlled misting units suspended up high, every so often they would spray out a fine mist, and glasses and camera lenses would immediately fog up.!

There was also a nice deep pond with the start of a Mangrove swap growing at one side.

Nice reflecting pool. Helps keep the temperature and humidity up. There were small fish in here.

Nice reflecting pool.
Helps keep the temperature and humidity up.
There were small fish in here.

There were several Tropical water plants growing in this pond as well.

A Telephoto lens was needed for this next picture.

Nymphaea 'Kews Stowaway Blues'

Nymphaea ‘Kews Stowaway Blues’

Even in the dull light it practically glowed.!

Fruits of the Heliconia collinsiana var. Collinsiana. It resembles a Bananna plant, but can reach 16ft tall.!

Fruits of the Heliconia collinsiana var. Collinsiana. It resembles a banana plant, but can reach 16 ft tall.!

Now there’s something that not a lot of people may know about the Tropical section in the Conservatory, the fact is the public are not alone, I’ve seen them before, but this was the first time that I have been able to get a decent picture of them………

A bit of natural pest control.!

A bit of natural pest control.!

Lets have a look at one more Orchid.

Vanda species.

Vanda species.

The world-famous Jade Vine.

Each stem can exceed a metre in length and display more than 90 flowers and It is pollinated naturally by bats.

Each stem can exceed a metre in length and display more than 90 flowers and It is pollinated naturally by bats.

Onto the last section from the Tropics and on into the Desert section at the Southern End of the complex.

View across the middle.

View across the middle.

A lot of really interesting plants in this section, unfortunately quite a few unruly children as well, I waited ages for the scream of an impaled child.

The more rare and highly prized plants were safely behind a clear screen.

The more rare and highly prized plants were safely behind a clear screen.

I saw lots of Agaves, and took pictures of them for a certain Pig Farming Agave Lover.

Agave lophantha

Agave lophantha

Agave Parrasana

Agave Victorlae-reginae

Agave Victoriae-reginae

Agave attenuata

Agave titanota

Agave titanota

Sleeping Octopuss or Cacti.?

Sleeping octopus or Cacti.?

This Desert section of the Princess of Wales Conservatory is mostly heated by the sunlight with additional heating used at night or in winter to maintain a minimum temperature.

I found an interesting specimen of a fasciation in a cacti.

Hammer head.? or squashed in the door.?

Hammer head.? or squashed in the door.?

A bright and airy house,again as the Tropical section, the plants here looked superb and in very good condition.

A suculent jungle.

A succulent jungle.

There were quite a few flowering plants here as well, the pink flowering plant in the middle is a scented Pelergoniuim.

There were quite a few flowering plants here as well, the pink flowering plant in the middle is a scented Pelargonium.

One of my favourite plants here was this Echium, unfortunately it was growing in the middle of a big bed away from the path, so I could not see its label.  I took the picture with a telephoto lens.

Echium Sp. Great for Bees.

Echium Sp.
Great for Bees.

There was a nice collection of Lithops, or Living Stones here, but the were safely growing away behind a security screen.  It took a moment to distinguish between plant and stone in some cases.

Living Stones.

Living Stones.
I think the labels gave them away.!

Finally arrived at the South exit door, before I went outside I found this small bed of planted up Scented Pelargoniums which revealed this lovely flower.

Pelargonium echinatum.

Pelargonium echinatum.

If your still with me after all those pictures, then thankyou.

Hopefully not too much text, and just lots of pictures which you enjoyed.

My next few blogs will feature the Alpine house, The waterlily House, The Palm House, The Temperate House, The Xstrata Treetop Walkway, some outdoor shots, Parrots, and an old tree.

So until then, here’s a picture of a Brass Bum.

Kew 11.4.13 166

Thank you for reading.

Part 2, Alpine House on to Palm House and Beyond….

8 thoughts on “A Grand Day out at Kew.. Pt.1. The Princess of Wales Conservatory. 2013

  1. Pingback: End of Year Review : 2013 | The Cynical Gardener

  2. Pingback: A Grand Day out at Kew Pt 2. Alpine House to Palm House and Beyond…. | The Cynical Gardener

  3. Pingback: A Grand Day out at Kew Pt 3. Temperate House to Parrots. | The Cynical Gardener

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