Hamamelis x intermedia Vesna
Happily, Kew Gardens are a short distance from Teddington HQ (too) and as long as there is a parking space close to the Victoria Gate entrance, there is no excuse for me not to stop off and take a look inside.
Sometimes this is just a short stop, perhaps less than an hour, a guerrilla incursion for a specific target – the Alpine House, Cherry Blossom, the Chokushi-Mon and Japanese Landscape, the rose walkway in full bloom or Salvia border just before the frosts, the Rock Garden, the very glamourous Peonies, Rhododendron Walk, drifts of Camassias, crocus or daffs, the singular splendour of the Judas Tree (Cercis siliquastrum) in the Mediterranean landscape, the Holly Walk in full berry – well, you get the picture. If there’s a parking space within 100m of the entrance, park I must.
Of course this doesn’t preclude a longer visit or successive short trips to mark the progress of say, the Magnolia blossom (which I did over three weeks last year, likewise the Cherry collection – Kew’s own Hanami).
This visit focused on the witch hazels (Hamamelis) which are a glory, particularly around the Mediterranean landscape, as well as a look at the poor Magnolias that have mistakenly thought Spring had come early. The clamshell Davies Alpine House, Rock Garden and woodland were taken in too – but I’ll let the pictures take us on from here.
These Sarcococca form the boundary hedge of the seating area outside the cafe at the Victoria Gate – and while they are green and lush just now, with shiny black berries – their distinctive fragrance hasn’t made its presence known. In a couple of weeks the scent will gorgeous and in three weeks, quite overpowering!
Helleborus argutifolius in adjoining beds – with a very large specimen of Osmanthus yunnanensis (below) just by the diminutive plant centre
Chimonathus praecox Grandiflorus (above) and Cornus mas (below)
Helleborus orientalis – the Lenten Rose – beginning to pop up now
The first of the witch hazels on my tour, Hamamelis japonica Superba and in the woodland garden, this tree with chandeliers of bright red berries – Idesia polycarpa
A whole lot of mulching going on …
Magnolia x loebneri Dwarf No. 1 – properly still in bud …
The summer snowflake – Leucojum aestevum – Summer?
And some beautiful pruning and training – Rosa Brenda Colvin (above) and Rosa longicuspis (below)
Schizophragma integrifolium – almost as beautiful bare as in leaf and flower …
Anemone hortensis – very pretty little things in the Rock Garden
Galanthus nivalis Magnet (above, and above)
Erodium trifolium var trifolium – as if this needed to be said twice
Iris tingitana, hailing from Algeria and Morocco which brings us directly to the beauties in the Davies Alpine House – Iris Eye Catcher, below
… and a pretty little Iris Sunshine (above) with Iris histroides Lady Beatrix Stanley (below)
Lapeirousia oreogena – from the Iris family and hailing from Cape Province with Narcissus panizzianus (below)
Iris Spot On (above) and Scilla messeniaca (below)
The rather splendid leaves of Cyclamen rohlfsianum and the last Iris in the shop, Iris planifolia
Symphoricarpus orbiculatus in full fruit – outside the glasshouse
The distinctive Alpine House marks the top of the Rock Garden (well, I think of it as the top) with its back to the Grass Borders which haven’t yet been cut back – a job for February usually – and in the afternoon sun – were looking splendid
Hamamelis x intermedia Pallida – by the Ice House
Another intimation of Spring with this hawthorn blossom – Crataegus monogyna Biflorus – the Glastonbury Thorn throwing out more than a few distinctive blooms. Which leads us to the Magnolia Grove, which by rights should be tightly budded but … lo! Magnolia campbellii has other ideas –
and Magnolia Tonia taking its lead from the bigger brother …
Way, way too early and the frost this weekend might well see to the preemptive flowering … Magnolia sprengeri var diva has it right – furry buds tight shut
as too has Magnolia kobus –
While the Pallis Ash – Fraxinus pallisiae – is also starting off a little prematurely –
We’re moving off again now, heading across the great avenue that stretches from the Palm House to the River Thames, and past the top of the lake with Henry Moore’s recumbent Reclining Mother and Child 1975-1976
…. and we start among and into the Mediterranean Garden – Coronilla glauca in bright bloom, an unnamed Iberis (?), felled Cork Oaks, the great slumbering Cercis siliquastrum, Echiums under boxed-fleece covers and beyond, a collection of Hamamelis, Parrotia persica, with hellebores aplenty.
Cultivating the ground with a tool that delivers, I think, compressed air through a simple spike milled around into the ground. One to work, one to supervise!
Work continues on the restoration of the Temperate House.
This marbled, spiderweb leafery caught my eye but wasn’t labelled – I’m was first thinking it was an Acanthus but more likely, an Eryngium? – it is the Mediterranean Garden – but which cultivar? More googling needed here….
A large-leaved, variegated Ivy cascading over the Arts and Craft brickwork
Hamamelis x intermedia Jelena (above – all) and below (3) Hamamelis x intermedia
Hamamelis mollis – Chinese Witch Hazel – above and below
LINKS For Growing Witch Hazels –
and from my own archive – https://teddingtongardener.com/?s=hamamelis
Banks of Hellebores carpet the ground beneath the selections of witch hazel, with King William’s Temple at the peak of this hummock, built for Queen Victoria in 1837 –
– and I think I’ll stop here for a moment – Part I of my inaugural 2016 tour of Kew – though there are more Witch Hazels to consider, Parrotia persica too (a relation), some great buds, bark and hips to come. Too much of a good thing eh? I spoil you!
5 thoughts on “My first visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew (well, my first this year) – Witch Hazels aplenty, Alpine beauties – Magnolias! – and more… Welcome to Part 1”
Wow, so many great photos. Enjoying the blog posts this evening.
I bought this rare hellebore today, so excited! http://www.hillieronline.co.uk/products/helleborus-spring-promise-dble-white-x2.html
Are you going to Chelsea Flower Show?
Hi there you too – thank you for the link to the Hillier site for the double white Hellebore – there are a couple of specialist nurseries that have open days so will have to look these out too – Ashwood Nurseries spring to mind and they have tours on 30th January and 13th February – they are in the West Midlands. Chelsea? The horticultural team at Petersham Nurseries generally go together but might book my own tickets too, so I can spend even more time there! Best wishes, Martin
One of the wonders of the world, Kew. I covet everything in it! Thank you for these pix.
I think your variegated plant is Silybum marianum (very interesting biennial, said to be splashed by Mary’s milk, also used in herbal medicine).
Lovely photographs which brought back memories of Kew – I look forward to reading more of your blogs
Many many thanks – exactly it! I’ll make a note against the image. Glad you enjoy my musings – hope you drop in again … Best wishes Martin