Day 7: Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew – 5 areas to visit in a day

It was a beautiful sunny morning when we went to Kew Gardens. Kew Gardens is sprawling – founded in 1759 by Princess Augusta, who was married to the Prince of Wales. Kew is special because it’s part royal park as well as part scientific research facility. There are more than 300 scientists at Kew. Plant scientists ask challenging questions and seek to answer them. Questions on climate change, food security and disease. (Source : Plants from Roots to Riches by Kathy Willis and Carolyn Fry).

Kew abounds with them, rubber plants from Brazil. This year being SG50 when we await our UNESCO bid for the Singapore Botanical Gardens. Kew sent 22 rubber seeds to Singapore Botanical gardens. Henry Murton planted 8 of them in these grounds and the rest in Malay peninsula. What remained of the planting was inherited by Henry Ridley who directed his efforts to study rubber trees. Rubber became one of the British Empire’s greatest commercial successes.
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Getting to Kew:
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Take the District line and walk 15 mins. Go in the morning and pack a light sandwich for a picnic.

I regret that the group I was with, had to rush back to the hotel to check out at 12pm. I didn’t visit the water lily house.

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Tiny flowers inside the bromeliad

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Must visit (if you’ve only one day)
1. Davies Alpine House
2. Marianne North Gallery of Botanical Prints
3. Pagoda (after restoration)
4. Princess of Wales Conservatory
5. Palm House

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Princess of Wales Conservatory

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Others
6. Tree top walk
7. Kew urban farming
8. Wisteria

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Palm House

Atthe Palm House, look for the famous cyad resident at the Kew since 1775. One of the oldest pot plants in the world, brought back from its native South Africa. But it’s not the oldest plant. Regrettably, I didn’t have time to visit the palm house.

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Wisteria

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Kew Gardens – Kew on a Plate

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A team including Kew gardener Joe Archer has created a stunning kitchen garden that is a showcase of heritage varieties of fruit and vegetables. These have been selected for maximum flavour and to provide interest and ripe produce across the seasons. Catch the BBC program.

We caught the affable Joe here tending to the garden but then again he may be always showing up by his plot.

Kew puts much emphasis in getting the young interested in gardening. Is it because the UK is an agricultural society or that people grow up with gardens in their homes. Will we see more young people in Singapore interested in gardening?

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Young diploma students

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Learning to draw plant cells

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Examining cell through microscope

Update
Our very own edible garden farmers: Edible Farming Bjorn Low.
http://www.goingplacessingapore.sg/project/2015/Urbanfarming.aspx?utm_campaign=GPS-UrbFarm&utm_source=&utm_medium=FBTW

Kew Gardens Marianne North Gallery

Marianne North

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Marianne North

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This is a must visit at Kew. Marianne North was born in 1830 and traveled around the world painting. She donated 833 paintings to Kew which asked that she donate a building to contain them as well. Amazing, a woman of her times travelling with that huge flouncy skirt through tropical weather, getting seasick on ships over long journeys to paint exotic plant collection.

The painting were recently restored by Kew. During the restoration, a hidden painting was discovered, behind a backing board. I only discovered this on Kew website after my return. So I’m not sure what was the hidden painting or why Ms North hid it? Maybe you can let me know next time you visit.