Fifteen blind ramblers and helpers and nine Polyramblers enjoyed a wonderful day in Kew Gardens. We started by ascending to the Temple of Aeolus, the god of wind, who thankfully was not active that day. In fact it was beautifully sunny between the clouds! Walking back through plant evolution in the Evolution Garden we reached the colourful Rock Garden where we listened to the waterfall before passing through the Alpine House, describing the insectivorous plants in the pond on the way. We smelled crushed fallen leaves of the Eucalyptus trees before experiencing the different climatic zones of the Princess of Wales Conservatory. Homage was paid to the bee at ‘The Hive’ a structure created by Wolfgang Buttress which several of us entered to further explore and listen to the local bees humming in the key of C major!
We enjoyed lunch at the picnic tables on the lawn in front of the Orangery then, suitably refreshed, we strolled along the longest double herbaceous border in the UK and through the Rose Garden, eventually reaching the fragrant Mediterranean Garden where we felt the trunks of Cork Oak trees. Crossing the lake by a bridge brought us through the Bamboo Garden to Capability Brown’s Rhododendron Dell where we posed for photos before walking over a board walk through ancient woodland and onwards through the pinetum to admire the Giant Redwood trees.
The final part of our journey through the world’s flora was to the Japanese Garden with its ceremonial gate and a surprise meeting with George the peacock, passing the newly restored Pagoda on our return to our starting point. We paused at two of Kew’s ‘Forever Food’ installations, the trolls Helen and Matt highlighting food waste and the benefits of plant based diets and ‘Shooting at Hunger’ the work of a Ghanaian artist which also featured vibrant African music. When we parted, some of the group made their way back to the station and others paused for a plant-based ice-cream to round off a delightfully sensory day!
Many thanks to the Poly volunteers who came to guide, shepherd, round up, monitor, describe and chat with the blind ramblers and generally help the day go smoothly. And special thanks to Jennifer for planning the route, her explanations and sharing her knowledge with us and for this report. Pam
Thanks to Nita and Pam for the photos.