Sunday, June 03, 2007

The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in June

An Orangery Afternoon Tea
8" x 10", pen and ink and coloured pencil in Moleskine sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

On Friday we went to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. I can highly recommend Kew Gardens in June - it was full of flowers associated with Georgia O'Keeffe - arum lilies, poppies and irises. There were also masses of flowers more commonly associated with English Gardens - such as peonies and roses - although both of course came from elsewhere originally.

We were fortunate to have sunshine for the visit which after the amount of rain we've had recently was very welcome - however it does make photographing flowers more difficult. It's so much easier getting good photos of flowers when they are in some sort of shade as the image then has the shading associated with the structure of the flower as opposed to that associated with the direction of the sunlight. These lovely arum lillies were in a very nice shady spot.

The Waterlily House is host to a wonderful variety of waterlilies including the giant waterlilies Victoria amazonica and Victoria cruziana which get bigger and bigger over the course of the summer. Personally I really like the shapes and colours of the flowers and leaves at this stage of the summer.

It is now also the place to see lots and lots of different varieties of chillis with absolutely fascinating names! After last summer, Kew has apparently decided that it's going to have a Mediterranean summer. This seems to be focusing on the different sorts of plants that it's now possible to grow given the extent of climate change to date. You can even listen to a podcast if you visit the website!

We had 'interesting clouds' yesterday which ran the whole gamut of colours between violet and deep purple - but fortunately the rain held off. The sketch at the top is my view of the terrace outside the Orangery where they have small orange and lemon trees growing in what look rather like zinc tubs

For those interested in:
  • what you can see at different times of the year - refer to A Year at Kew
  • all things botanical - you can see the range of botanical books produced and sold online by Kew at Kewbooks [].
  • growing waterlilies - I've included a link below to a society dedicated to water gardening.


  1. Wish we had botanical gardens at the level you're writing about here in San Francisco--perhaps I have yet to discover them. There is the Conservatory of Flowers, but as far as I know, they don't let artists work inside. They do have season plantings out front that can be great to paint.

  2. Ed - we have two! Kew also has gardens at Wakehurst Place which i must try and get to soon.

    The Royal Horticultural Society also has marvellous gardens out at Wisley in Surrey (which will doubtless feature in a future blog post)


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