We started our visit to Kew Gardens with The Princess of Wales Conservatory which was opened in 1987 and is the home to Kew’s Orchid House, carnivorous plants and cacti.
The air was perfumed by Prosthechea radiata and Stanhopea nigroviolacea.
Swathy Vanilla planifolia wound its way to the roof and naturalistic planting arched over the pathways. The orchid house was a thoroughly enjoyable visit to all the senses and I could have stayed in there for hours peering in detail at each orchid but there was lots more to see at Kew.
The Palm house was next on the agenda. Designed by Decimus Burton, one of the foremost architects of the time, and constructed between 1844 and 1848 by Irish iron founder Richard Turner, it is a cathedral of cast iron and hand blown glass. It is said to be the first large scale industrial use of cast iron. A tribute to the industrial revolution.
Up a spiral staircase to the gallery where it was a very humid 35 degrees celsius but wonderful views of the roof .
Although called a Palm House and has palms in it there are other plants inside including orchids.
It was fun searching for orchids amongst the other plants. Among our finds were Stanhopea wardii and Cymbidium aloifolium.
Next we visited the Temperate House which was much cooler than the Palm House but was just as awesome. Again it was designed by Decinus Burton. The main section was opened in 1863 but the wings were not finished until 1896. The building suffered damage during World War Two, causing the roof to leak and corrosion of the iron work. It was first restored in the 1970’s and them further restoration was completed in 2018. It is a magnificent building.
The view from the gallery was amazing, looking down on plants native to Australia. There was an unusual looking Grass Tree, Xanthorrhoea preissii, from Western Australia.
The orchids found here were Coelogyne flaccida and and Dendrobium hetercarpum.
I thoroughly recommend a trip to Kew and the glass houses. Although I have visited many times before there is always something new to see and learn with each trip. It is a lovely day out.