10/10/2010

Sky Walk at Kew.



Before too much time passes, I would like to share with you a wonderful day trip to Kew gardens; we actually went there in September but no matter. We caught a ferry at Westminster Bridge and sailed up the Thames on a sparklingly bright and sunny day. On route we passed many landmarks, houses and gardens of the rich and famous, gradually the scenery started to change from man made to a more natural environment; we saw many herons fishing and huge birds which I believe to be black cormorants which for some reason made me think of Edgar Allen Poe! They certainly had an air of mystery about them.



After a leisurely sail we eventually alighted at Kew pier and walked along the river to the entrance gate, remembering the days when you could go through the turnstile for a penny. The gardens are vast with so many delights on offer, far too many to relate here so I will just show you a few of the things we saw. We made a beeline for the newly constructed skywalk, I loved the idea of walking above the tree canopies and the climb to the top did not disappoint, although I did feel rather queasy looking straight down.



There was every kind of tree you can imagine and more, avenues planted with holly, each one different from the last, magnificent horse chestnuts, maples, alders, firs and beeches and of course oak trees, my favourite being the Lucombe Oak, which was first planted in 1773.



If you have ever been to Kew you will know how huge it is; we must have walked miles that day, in and out of hot houses, through Japanese gardens, we drank tea beneath the shade of a rambling vine and watched butterflies, bees and dragonflies until we had sensory overload! Foot sore and weary we made our way back to the pier in time to catch the last boat home and planned our next garden visit, this time to the Chelsea Physic garden, but that as they say, is another story for another day.



Generations pass while some trees stand,
and old families last not three oaks.
Sir Thomas Browne (1658).

30 comments:

  1. valerie it would be amazing to walk in the tree canopies. it would also be amazing to be in very very old gardens. thanks for sharing these words and pictures. steven

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  2. Love your tree/owl/fox picture. Do you sell prints of your work, or cards?

    I like the idea of a sky walk at Kew - it is years since I have been. It reminds me of the high line in New York - a sort of garden made on an old overhead rail track.

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  3. Wonderful garden, and I'm particularly enamored of your illustration, beautiful!

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  4. I think it was Alfred Noyes who wrote about Kew (come down to Kew in lilac time ...it isn't far from London !!). I have been there a few times, but never by river. Makes me think that of course that would have been the way the Elizabethans travelled (Eliz the first, 16th C) - and how I love your owl in the tree painting. Did you do that after visiting? Glorious.

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  5. Your work is incredible, I keep staring at the bark of the tree thinking "Good gods, how did she do that?!" Amazing stuff, and the garden is bril too, I got to take in Shaftesbury today and I need to remind myself to get OUT and see the world more often.

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  6. Valerie, thank you for this reminder of what spendours await in Kew, no matter which season or approach.

    It really is a marvelous place, and I envy you the opportunity to spend time there.

    I keep thinking about that oak tree dating back to 1773. I don't think that I have seen it on my Kew visits, and will try to catch a glimpse next time. Hoping the tree and I can hold on for that rendez-vous!

    xo

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  7. What a perfect day out you describe. I long to come to England and be a tourist of all those sorts of places I never saw when I did live in England, oh so long ago!

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  8. I haven't been there for a long time - you have whetted my appetite again...the ferries didn't exist way back then.

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  9. Envy. Haven't been for years but I usedto love lunch in the Orangery. That sky walk looks terrific.

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  10. Haven't been to Kew for years and I'd love to go again - your way of getting there by river sounds wonderful as does the sky walk although like you I think I'd have to concentrate on looking ahead and slightly down rather than straight down:)

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  11. I love Kew too... used to live not far away...
    I particularly love this illustration of yours too Valerie :)
    Hugs from Dartmoor x

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  12. Valerie, we saw huge trees like that at Herstmonceax Castle. I hope I spelled that correctly. If you haven't been, you'd love the grounds there too. We were not able to go inside when we were there, as it was closed, but the gardens are lovely and the moat - so fairy-tale-like!
    Hugs,
    Diane

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  13. I'm crazy for your painting!!
    And I'm putting the Kew skywalk on my list for the next trip! Thanks!

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  14. I would love to visit Kew and walk up in the trees in their Sky Walk, although I think I would feel a little queasy too!
    I used to enjoy sailing up the Thames which I haven't done since I was a child.
    Your painting is lovely - like the colours and the details.

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  15. I used to work in Richmond so I know Kew quite well, although it must be around ten years ago that I visited.
    Wonderful tree and painting Valerie.
    M x

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  16. Thanks as always for your very kind comments.

    The old oak tree illustration is taken from my book "The Acorn's Story", the old tree at Kew reminded me of this.

    I hope to have some prints available soon, next on my "to do" list!

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  17. Beautiful painting of the tree with the fox and owl. You are a genius!

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  18. I love your oak tree painting - such detail... and the photograph of the ancient oak reminds me of a particular Ted Hughes poem, I shall have to go and look it up!

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  19. How absolutely lovely this sounds, just the idea of traveling up the Thames has a magic quality to it. I love your illustration.

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  20. Thank you so much for offering to send me a print Valerie - I am so touched by your kindness - anything with owls would be wonderful - we have so many round here and I love them so. Although I also love your dormouse which I think was made into a jigsaw - so that would be just as good - I will leave it entirely to you.

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  21. I want to visit the Chelsea Physic garden too. As for Kew, would you believe I haven't visited since I was a child. I remember going up to the top of the Pagoda. x

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  22. I treasure my memories of my all too few visits to Kew and would love to think that I might visit again one day.

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  23. The building. The bridge...
    They let me feel the history.

    Thank you.
    ruma

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  24. Wow! The old oak reminds me very much of our huge old live oaks here in the American South. They survive the hurricanes and stand broad and tall, century after century. What a magical day and a magical trip. Thanks for sharing.

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  25. Kew Gardens are a must on my to-do list.

    Lovely!

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  26. That magnificent ancient oak is just amazing!! It almost looks as if it has taken on a personage all it's own.

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  27. Ooh! A ferry down the Thames! Sounds like a great start to a most wonderful day.
    Love how sky walk gives you a whole new bird's-eye perspective on the world. I'd love to visit Kew someday.

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  28. We went to Kew in the 70's, miles of walking of course, and I remember in particular the Marianne North Gallery.
    I recognize the beautiful Oak tree painting of course from my Christmas present, The Acorn's Story. It is a most beautiful painting.

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  29. i do love visiting gardens, this one is on my list of to do's. The painting is beautiful Valerie, two my most favorite of things, trees & foxes x

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