Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Kew Gardens in February

Last Friday, my partner and I went to Kew Gardens for the day. And I've been meaning to finish writing this post since then - but with no sketching and 178 photos it was difficult knowing where to start.........or middle or end!

I haven't been in yonks and wondered how much it had changed. It has of course acquired a World Heritage site status in recent years and one should never forget its Royal status. Here's the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew website if anybody else fancies a visit or just a 'look-see'.

I'm minded to pay regular visits for plein air painting over the course of a year as I can get to it quite easily on the tube. It's also a very civilised place to go as it has "facilities" liberally distributed around its very many acres. On the map I looked at, I was reminded that they divide it into three distinct areas and suggest that each area would easily take 2-3 hours to see so it's not really possible to do the place justice even if you are there for the whole day. And that sounds very like visits in the past - we've always ever done bits. But that does mean oodles of things to draw and paint. So having noted the current entry fee (£10) I decided to do the sensible thing and become a Friend so I get free entry in future.

Anyway - because it was bracing weather (ie OK if you kept walking briskly and ****** cold if you sat down) we toured the three glasshouses - enjoying in particular the 30 degrees centigrade in the Palm House! Our glasses steamed up as did the camera lens of course! And they seemed a popular place in which to sit and sketch.

The Princess of Wales glasshouse was hosting the annual orchid exhibition. And somebody had decided to create an "artistic theme" - and lo and behold we have brushes and paint!

I'm not really sure what to include on the botanical front - so much to choose from! However here goes - two sort of spiky ones - both macros - one soft and one not: Japanese Witch Hazel and a close-up of a cactus.

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