The International Steam Pages

Kew Gardens May 2017

Click here for the 2017 UK Gardens Index.

We finally made it to Kew Gardens in May 2017, it's been on Yuehong's hit list since she arrived in the UK. Fortunately, my son lives in Hampton which is just a short bus ride away.

Ask the 'man in the street' about Kew and they will probably mention the amazing glass houses. The Temperate House is under wraps and will be a good excuse to revisit in a year or two when it reopens. However the Palm and Lily Houses were open for business.

Scattered around the place are various royal buildings, this is Kew Palace and of course nearby was a giant rhododendron, about 10 times bigger than our largest one which is the same colour.

It's been a warm Spring so by the end of May the azalaeas and rhodoendrons were coming to the end of their season. However, they were still spectacular.

Mostly, thought it's beautiful trees in a wonderful setting which is impossible to capture on camera. When the showers threatened, we retreated to Yuehong's other target, the Marianne North Gallery. As the Kew website says  "Marianne North was a remarkable and talented Victorian artist with a great eye for botanical detail. Here you can see 833 of her paintings displayed in a geographical order, which she hung herself after travelling around the world." Photography is not allowed inside but as soon as Yuehong saw a book of the paintings, she had to visit.

This was very much Yuehong's weekend for a change, but I got my reward the next day with a visit to Kempton Steam Museum, home to a pair of 1000 ton triple expansion pumping engines, one of which is serviceable. They were used for London's drinking water supply until 1980. You can get some idea of the size from the white overalled engineers.

Rob and Yuehong Dickinson