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Visit to Kew Gardens, London

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UK_Palms

I went to Kew Gardens for my birthday on Tuesday 22nd September. 

A great chance to check out the gardens and the fantastic glass houses, of which several were unfortunately closed due to the pandemic. Nonetheless, plenty of palms and exhibits were still on display and in their full glory on a beautiful sunny autumn/fall day here at 51N in southeastern England. The air temperature was around 27C / 80F at the time of visiting. Conditions are very dry at present as we have had no rainfall at all during September so far, and only around 4-5 inches of rain over the past 6 months, since 1st March. 

Here is a photo-documentation of the gardens, glass houses and the various palms located within. The first of several posts...

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Unfortunately some of the attractions and glass houses were closed due to the pandemic, although the main couple were still open. Please excuse me for not naming each palm individually...

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Crossing on to the temperate glass house...

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More to follow...

 

 

Edited by UK_Palms
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GottmitAlex

Happy birthday!

Thanks for the pictures.

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sipalms

Nice pics...

London is more palmy than I thought!

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UK_Palms

You can see just how dry it is here in these pictures... bearing in mind these have been taken in late September at 51N.

The palms don't seem to mind though...

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Olive groves...

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Ring necked parakeet in frame...

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Maturing seeds...

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Helped myself to a few seeds that had already matured... :bummed:

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Edited by UK_Palms
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sipalms

Did you get any seed off those fruiting washingtonias whilst in London?

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Frond-friend42

Woooowww. I wanted to go there before. Now I want to even more.

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SHEP

What, no pictures of the newer Alpine house, and, rock garden.  The specimens are amazing?  Cecile

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PalmatierMeg

Best birthday present a palm lover could ask for. Thanks for the virtual tour.

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UK_Palms

More interesting pictures from Kew...

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One pleasant surprise was to find that Kew had it's own little Redwood forest within the grounds. A number of decent sized coastal Sequoia's being present...

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The gardens flank the river Thames, which happened to be at low tide when I visited, otherwise I would have taken more pictures... 

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I wouldn't be shocked if this section of the garden has only seen 7-8 inches of rain all year. Bearing in mind this is RIGHT next to the Thames river too and also get's addition irrigation...

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The main lake...

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A big Monkey Puzzle tree...

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We enter the Japanese Garden...

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I am unsure whether this is just a regular Trachycarpus Fortunei that has had it's trunk stripped of fibres, or whether it is a Martianus or something...?

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Unfortunately the galleries and main public houses were closed due to the pandemic. I wouldn't have had time to incorporate them in anyway...

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There must be thousands upon thousands of parakeets resident at Kew Gardens. Estimates of 150,000+ now in southern England. They are absolutely everywhere. From the moment you arrive at Kew, to the moment you leave, you will hear their non-stop 'chirping' noises in the tree tops, as well as see them flying around. I probably saw about 500 during my visit. Maybe more even.

I tried to get some pictures, but they are hard to spot amongst the leaves when nestled in trees and when they do fly past, they move very, very quickly. I saw a hawk chasing one, so that is probably the reason why they don't hang about.

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These 3 pictures below aren't my own, but they show the London parakeets up close. I saw a few people at Kew using food to get the parakeets to land on their arms, although it didn't work for me, despite how many there are...

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I have seen these in my garden here near Guildford, although nowhere near as many as you see in London these days. Kew and St. James Park are the main locations to see them.

 

Edited by UK_Palms
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HtownPalms

Cool place! Thanks for sharing. My sister in law lives in England (husband in USAF), now I have another reason for my wife and I to visit. 

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Kim

Kew is high on my wish list for many reasons. I'd want to spend as much time as possible visiting the various gardens and galleries. I am especially interested to see the Marianne North gallery. And those trees! Wow! Amazing. And nothing like a British glasshouse, that's for sure. Wow, incredible. I subscribe to Kew on Instagram, and see lots of lovely photos, but this was a real treat.

Happy birthday, and thanks for sharing your photos. Wonderful.

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UK_Palms

Of course no visit to Kew would be complete without seeing the 'Rock Garden' as mentioned by @SHEP above. Thankfully I saw them it my visit and photographed the various cacti and arid plants.

As you approach the glass house, there are some excellent plantings on show outside, including palms...

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Opuntia cacti of some kind growing outdoors...

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As we enter the glass house...

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And we move from the arid section, into the more tropical section...

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I may have already included the following shots in my initial post, since they are tropical palms and plants, but they are in the glass house attached to the Rock Garden's glass house, rather than the actual main 'palm house'.

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Unfortunately my iPhone 11 battery tanked from all the usage and died on me, so I did not get any pictures of the alpine house/garden and some more of the outdoor rock garden & pond. I know I have missed some other bits as well, including palm and cacti related stuff, but I am confident that I have covered the most relevant and interesting aspects of the gardens, at least in relation to this forum. However, the gardens are so big that it was impossible to see or photograph everything in one day. I am happy with what I did see and photograph though and feel that it gives a good representation of the gardens. 

Ultimately this thread is about showcasing the gardens in their full glory. They aren't looking their best right now though because of the pandemic and lockdown over spring/summer. I notice a lot of flowers missing from around the glass houses and stuff that would have been planted in spring, clearly has not been this year. On top of that quite a few things were closed off still, so I was unable to view or photograph them.

If anyone else has any pictures, or relevant information to add, then by all means do so.  Does anyone have pictures from the Treetop Walkway? Sadly, that was closed off to me when I visited, due to Covid. As were a few of the smaller glass houses. So not everything is covered in this thread. 

 

Edited by UK_Palms
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Hillizard

Great pictures! :DThanks for the virtual tour of the building and grounds of Kew, which I hope to see one day myself! I'm curious, did that Asian water dragon  (https://nationalzoo.si.edu/animals/asian-water-dragon) have free range in that greenhouse?

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greysrigging
4 hours ago, UK_Palms said:

These 3 pictures below aren't my own, but they show the London parakeets up close. I saw a few people at Kew using food to get the parakeets to land on their arms, although it didn't work for me, despite how many there are...
 

4 hours ago, UK_Palms said:

I have seen these in my garden here near Guildford, although nowhere near as many as you see in London these days. Kew and St. James Park are the main locations to see them.

 

They are Indian Ringnecks, and are successful colonisers, having established feral breeding populations all over the world. They are a staple of the exotic parrot pet shop trade. I have seen the odd aviary escapee in Australia, not sure if we have breeding populations down under, as they would have to compete with the far more numerous native parrots
BTW....great pics all round....well done !

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UK_Palms
On 9/23/2020 at 3:16 AM, sipalms said:

Did you get any seed off those fruiting washingtonias whilst in London?

The only Washie I saw on my trip was inside the 'temperate' glass house at Kew. It's shown above in my first post. Not sure why they have it planted in the glasshouse, since Washies grow fine outdoors in London. There's numerous examples and some pretty big specimens these days. Although surprisingly, I didn't actually see any Washies planted outside at Kew. Although I didn't have enough time to see everything and missed things like the Butia's and Cordylines for instance. I was there from 11am - 6pm and that was still nowhere near enough time to properly see everything, even with about 1/3 of their attractions closed off due to Covid.

There's a Robusta planted outdoors at Wisley Gardens though, which is just outside of London (about halfway between Kew and Guildford). That's an even less favourable spot than Kew, which makes it all the more surprising that they don't appear to have one outdoors at Kew, where winters will be marginally warmer than Wisley due to the proximity to central London. They will almost certainly plant one in due course at Kew though, surely. If I had one recommendation to the ground staff, it would be to plant a few Washies.

Here's the one at RHS Wisley Gardens, which isn't even in London's urban heat island...

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Obviously there are Washie's growing around London, some of which are pretty big now. But I have been swayed to believe that they have not flowered yet. I was of the opinion that the one in Chelsea Physic Garden had flowered, as had a 35 foot+ Robusta in East London. However I do not think that is the case now, following feedback from others. The seed I collected a few years back may have been from a Brahea Armata or a Sabal of some kind. Whatever it was, I think it either failed to germinate for me, or I have misplaced the seed. I certainly can't find it now.

Nonetheless, there are a number of Washies that I will keep my eye on for signs of flowering and setting seed. There's probably 10+ pretty large specimens around London now, which will be contenders for flowering. That's just the ones we know about. The summers in London are certainly warm enough and the winters mild enough for them to flower here.

These two are literally just down the road from Kew, in Richmond. The picture is 15 months old now. They must be bigger and of course prime candidates for flowering now, or in years to come...

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Obviously the Filifera in nearby Wimbledon as well is going to be a prime candidate in the year's to come...

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I don't think Barry's Filifera has flowered yet in Edmonton, North London, which gets a lot cooler than the one's above in southwest London...

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There's another big Filifera in the eastern outskirts of London, not far from the coast. The picture is a few years old now though, but it's clearly taller than the two storey house back then...

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Here's what looks like yet another Filifera in London, possibly Filibusta hybrid... and another candidate for first to flower... (picture is over a year old)

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It's proving very difficult to find a recent photo of the Washie in Chelsea Physic Garden, so I have attached some older photos from 2016/17. In the second photo, you can see the Washie at the back, looking very healthy compared to some of the other stuff supposedly considered more hardy. Surely someone must have a more recent photo of it, as it should be a lot bigger now?

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The picture below is crap, but it shows a Robusta from summer 2016, just east of London. It was as tall as the telephone pole over 4 years ago now, so god knows what proportions it has reached since then. Another contender for flowering, no doubt. We desperately need updates on all of these Washies. The image below is from Google Earth, dating back to 2016, so it's obviously way bigger now...

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Then of course there is Dave Brown's Robusta, just outside of London. These pictures are more than a year old as well...

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A few more Washies worth mentioning around London...

Peter Jenkins Robusta (I think from 2014)...

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This caption was from 2013 in Little Venice, so God knows how big this Washie has got now, not without a more recent update or photo. It's still definitely there, but obviously a lot bigger, since 7+ years have passed.

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These are the Washie's in St. James' Square, of which there are at least 3. The caption is from 14 months ago...

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While not the biggest ones about, these two in south London are flying out the blocks and gaining over a foot of trunk a year at present (picture is 18 months old)...

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This one is really going for it as well...

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Staines Washie (picture taken in 2016)...

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No idea where these are, but they are obviously in the south of England somewhere...

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The milder south coast has a number of large ones too, but that isn't London obviously and they don't get the summer heat that London or the inland regions of the southeast gets...

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Even with a distorted trunk they're still surviving here...

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Ventnor, Isle of Wight...

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Either way, I don't see any reason why these Washie's won't flower sooner or later, assuming one of the bigger ones hasn't already. There might be an even bigger specimen out there somewhere that has already flowered? Surely it's just a matter of time now, given the extent of climate change here in our neck of the woods. Summers are hotter every year and winters more and more mild. Most of these Washies didn't see colder than 1C last winter and have seen 37-38C for the past 3 consecutive summers.

These things are going to be everywhere in southern England in the years to come. They're cheap and appeal to people because they grow so quickly, even here at 51N. They are almost being planted as frequently as CIDP's these days around London. I am seeing smaller ones everywhere, but it won't be long until the bigger ones become real 'skydusters'. Again, Kew should plant some Filifera's out as they seem to do especially well in London. Robusta's would probably make it at Kew as well. I really hope they get with the trend and plant some...

Edited by UK_Palms
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Aussiepalm

Thanks for all those wonderful pictures, I lived in London for two years... I can't really comment on the climate's long term trend on a personal level.

However I live in Melbourne Australia, quite a few species survive down here in what is consider a cold Australian climate... Would the like's of the Bangalow Palm, Phoenix Roebelenii & Dypsis Baronii stand a fighting chance in London? I feel our climates are very similar in many ways apart from Melbourne's odd extreme high temps occasionally...

Thoughts anyone?

Edited by Aussiepalm

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sipalms
59 minutes ago, Aussiepalm said:

Thanks for all those wonderful pictures, I lived in London for two years... I can't really comment on the climate's long term trend on a personal level.

However I live in Melbourne Australia, quite a few species survive down here in what is consider a cold Australian climate... Would the like's of the Bangalow Palm, Phoenix Roebelenii & Dypsis Baronii stand a fighting chance in London? I feel our climates are very similar in many ways apart from Melbourne's odd extreme high temps occasionally...

Thoughts anyone?

Yes I would tend to think Melbourne's climate would be very similar to London.

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greysrigging

Melbourne and London ? 38*S and 51*N ?
Yeah, nah.... don't think so.....
Melbourne winter av. max 14.2, av min 6.3.
London winter av max  8.3c, av min 2.4c.
And then of course, the sunshine hours in the winter months really does impact on plants.
We ( Aussies ) think Melbourne is some dreadfully cold climate.... well, its the changeability that fools us.... the old 40c one day, 20c the next day in summer, courtesy of facing the Southern Ocean.
And, both London and Melbourne cover huge areas, and both are influenced by UHI.... in fact, Melbourne's official BOM location has been moved from the original site to an open spot nearby at Olympic Park, away from bitumen roads and concrete buildings.
I'm sure there is some differences between Kew and Heathrow too......

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UK_Palms
5 hours ago, Aussiepalm said:

Thanks for all those wonderful pictures, I lived in London for two years... I can't really comment on the climate's long term trend on a personal level.

However I live in Melbourne Australia, quite a few species survive down here in what is consider a cold Australian climate... Would the like's of the Bangalow Palm, Phoenix Roebelenii & Dypsis Baronii stand a fighting chance in London? I feel our climates are very similar in many ways apart from Melbourne's odd extreme high temps occasionally...

Thoughts anyone?

As Greysrigging said, the differences in latitude (38S vs 51N) is just too great to compare the two climates. There are obviously big differences when you look at the stats. The main one being the sunshine hours, especially during winter. London cannot compete in that department and that is what ultimately gives London the reputation for being dark, gloomy and dull, because of the short days in winter and lack of sunlight intensity at it's northern latitude. Although April - September is quite sunny and pretty dry, but it can't really atone for the dull, wet, cool winter period.

Rainfall is roughly similar, although I actually think London's summers are quite a bit drier than Melbourne's these days, due to the absence of heavy downpours and thunderstorms. In fact London's summer's have been a lot drier than Melbourne's in recent years, which is further evidence of London's gradual transition towards a 'warm-summer Med' climate in my opinion. The period from April - September is actually relatively dry for the climate and location and it is getting drier every year. May-July has been especially dry in recent years. Some of those months see no rainfall at all these days.

I do know of a Roebelleni in central London, which is left outdoors all year on a balcony. It doesn't seem fazed there in central London, although it wouldn't stand a chance in my own back yard here near Guildford. There are a few others dotted about in London as well, some planted...

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A few cool, wet winter shots showing them surviving, just... :lol2:

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As for Bangalows, there are some decent sized specimens present on Tresco. However a lot of people in the UK palm growing circle are in agreement that central London is beginning to match and pull away from Tresco in terms of what can be zone pushed and grown there. In part due to milder winters and the summer heat that London gets allowing better growth. Washingtonia Filifera, Phoenix Dactylifera, Queens and lots of cacti for example, which you'll struggle to grow on Tresco. It won't be long before larger bangalows are present in London I feel. 

Here's my own Bangalow here in the rural countryside, way outside of London at 51N. Picture taken last week. I am debating whether or not to plant it...

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4 hours ago, sipalms said:

Yes I would tend to think Melbourne's climate would be very similar to London.

I assume you're being sarcastic and for once I actually hope you are because they're obviously not that similar! :lol2:

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Aussiepalm
On 9/24/2020 at 9:46 PM, greysrigging said:

Melbourne and London ? 38*S and 51*N ?
Yeah, nah.... don't think so.....
Melbourne winter av. max 14.2, av min 6.3.
London winter av max  8.3c, av min 2.4c.
And then of course, the sunshine hours in the winter months really does impact on plants.
We ( Aussies ) think Melbourne is some dreadfully cold climate.... well, its the changeability that fools us.... the old 40c one day, 20c the next day in summer, courtesy of facing the Southern Ocean.
And, both London and Melbourne cover huge areas, and both are influenced by UHI.... in fact, Melbourne's official BOM location has been moved from the original site to an open spot nearby at Olympic Park, away from bitumen roads and concrete buildings.
I'm sure there is some differences between Kew and Heathrow too......

That all makes complete sense, my assumption was far to simplistic. I also now realise London & Melbourne's historic cold minimum temperatures are miles apart...  The other important factor is Melbourne whilst cold it is in winter, daytime temperatures rise much faster once the sun is up, days below 10c occur perhaps once or twice a year and some years none at all. 

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Shiveringtropicals
On 9/24/2020 at 4:54 AM, UK_Palms said:

Does anyone have pictures from the Treetop Walkway? Sadly, that was closed off to me when I visited, due to Covid

I visited kew gardens in august of 2018 i remember how big it was and not getting to see everything there.

Would like to visit again after covid is over i only got to see about half of it due to limited time.

i remember that the temperate house had just been renovated so all the plants were a bit small and underwhelming.

But i saw most of the important things.

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Shiveringtropicals
On 9/24/2020 at 4:54 AM, UK_Palms said:

Unfortunately my iPhone 11 battery tanked from all the usage and died on me, so I did not get any pictures of the alpine house/garden and some more of the outdoor rock garden & pond.

I got you covered:greenthumb:

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lzorrito
On 9/23/2020 at 1:17 AM, UK_Palms said:

I went to Kew Gardens for my birthday on Tuesday 22nd September. 

What a birthday present!!! Fabulous, just fabulous!! And..Happy birthday to you!!

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Antti

Beautiful pictures, many thanks for sharing!

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      Views from inside the Garden Lot



      More later
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