Something not many people seem to realise is that London actually has a substantial amount of green spaces dotted around the city. Greenwich, Richmond Park and Hampstead Heath are only a few examples of where to head to if the Big Smoke gets a bit too much. Not far from Richmond, you’ll also find the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew – most commonly known as Kew Gardens -, which comprise a casual 326 acres of landscape.
I met up with my friend and blogging pal Ghenet for a little wander around the gardens and to see one of their current exhibitions. It was a beautifully sunny Friday morning and we were absolutely stunned by the vibrant colours.
One tree in particular caught all of our attention.
I know what you’re thinking. “How many photos of one tree can you possibly take?!” Well, let me tell you: The limit does not exist.
The leaves were a beautiful yellow shade where the sun hit them, and a more rustic orange for those who don’t see the sunlight as often. Nature is simply stunning.
Having taken a good amount of photos of and around that tree, we headed into the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art, where the exhibition “Rebecca Louise Law – Life in Death” is currently held.
“It’s difficult to flow against the cycle of life and death, trying to preserve and hold on to a material that traditionally has little or no value to modern culture. The natural world has been at the core of my artwork and I have always longed to create art that enables the viewer to find serenity within nature, transporting them into a space without the constraints of time and where there is still life in death.” – Rebecca Louise Law
The exhibition is as simple as it is fascinating. A total of 375,000 flowers are hung on delicate copper wires. As you walk through, you can get a whiff of their scents, mixed with an underlying tone of, well, decomposition.
We loved it so much that we actually went through the floral maze twice.
It might not seem like much, but I suppose this is something you have to see for yourself, which you can do until the 11th March, 2018. The exhibition is included with entry to the Gardens, which is £11.50 if you book online in advance.
The Shirley Sherwood Gallery doesn’t only hold the above exhibition but also shows a variety of different paintings.
Dandelion ‘Two o’clock’ by Rosie Sanders (charcoal with watercolour on Aquari 210 gsm paper).
‘Corymbia ficifolia’ by Jenny Phillips (watercolour on vellum).
‘Sunflower’ by Brigid Edwards (watercolour over pencil on vellum).
‘Kapok tree’ by Alvaro Nunes (watercolour on paper).
These were my absolute favourites. There was also a room filled to the ceiling with beautiful paintings from all over the world. Sadly, there was no photography allowed in there, so you’ll definitely have to go and experience it!
Thoroughly impressed by the art, we went back into the Gardens and explored some more.
Besides the seasonal highlights, there are also some key attractions, for example the Palm House.
Hidden inside a Victorian glasshouse are some of the most beautiful tropical plants, which are endangered, if not extinct, in the wild.
Or why not step inside The Hive?
After a good walk around the Gardens, we could feel the chill creeping up on us, so we decided it was time for some warming food.
Right next to the station, you’ll find Antrobus & Butler, a cute little cafe, serving the most delicious homemade food.
I’m not sure if and how often their menu varies but if you happen to spot the Butternut Squash & Parmesan soup or the Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Kale & Lemon on the menu – definitely go for those. It was delicious!
All in all, it was a beautiful autumnal day with good company and good food (which, as Ghenet and I agreed on, is all you ever really need).
’til next time x