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My Visit to Kew Gardens and The Temperate Carnivorous Greenhouse

Last week I got to visit The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew in London. Kew is well known for their beautiful gardens, glasshouses and displays. They are dedicated to protecting nature and managing sustainability, through research and education they are helping the future.

I have been to Kew once before last year however most of the best parts of Kew were closed for restoration, including the greenhouse containing the carnivorous plants. This time almost everything was open, so I was able to see everything I wanted to!

When I arrived, it was a calm and overcast day, perfect for walking without being too hot. Starting with the Palm House, I was determined to explore every glasshouse. The Palm House is a stunning indoor rainforest, full of huge tropical plants from around the world and also exhibited plants which are endangered or extinct.

Across from the Palm House is the Waterlily House which was definitely one of my favourite greenhouses which showcased the beautiful giant waterlilies but also two lovely large Nepenthes specimens, the first carnivorous plants I saw in my visit.

After being in awe of the beautiful Nepenthes, I hurried over to the Princess of Wales Conservatory from which had a room full of carnivorous plants and of which I was most excited for!

I knew they had an extensive range of carnivorous plants in their collection, but I was amazed to see them with my own eyes and growing so wonderfully!

They had a selection of different cultivars of Dionaea muscipula and Sarracenia as well as several different species of Drosera, even including pygmy sundews. They had most of their plants behind glass barriers to stop people from touching but there was also a selection of Utricularia and Sarracenia in a little raised bed and in a little selection on the ground.

I think my favourite display was that on the far side where they had a sea of Mexican Pinguicula in bright clusters and several mounted on rocked, it was a beautiful display and a wonderful use of the butterworts.

I was also really happy to see the inclusion of Heliamphora, Cephalotus, Darlingtonia and Roridula of which are rarely ever seen in collections like this, to have them growing so well was a sight to see. I will admit I spent a large section of my time in this greenhouse as it was just a joy to be in.

If anything, by spending a proportion of my time in this greenhouse allowed me to witness other people's outlooks on these plants. Many people walked past the greenhouse, completely missing out on the wonders inside, those who came in would either walk straight through or pass an odd comment about how these were 'bug catching plants'.

Of course, not everyone will like these plants, like not everyone shares the same interests. However, I do think there is definitely more room for education surrounding these plants. Although there were signs talking about carnivorous plants around the greenhouse, I think it would be interesting to have signs about each genus featured, especially that of those less likely to of been known such as Roridu

As I continued around The Princess of Wales Conservatory, I also saw more Nepenthes in the tropical carnivorous section.

Carrying on my visit, I got to see so amazing plants from all around the world and even learn several new plant facts. Despite the temperate carnivorous section, my favourite greenhouse was the Temperate Greenhouse which had a beautiful open plan, filled with all colours and heights. As I entered there was also more carnivorous plants in some little beds, mainly Pinguicula once again!

It was really cool to be able to walk around the upper floor of the greenhouse too, being above all the plants and looking down at everything!

Kew is huge, with 500 acres of land. They have the largest living plant collection therefore it is almost impossible to do and see everything in just one day. I was there for 5 and a half hours, and I was absolutely shattered after, unfortunately I wasn't able to see everything or go on any of the walks, but I was happy I managed to see everything I planned to.

Some more places I was able to visit included Davies Alpine House, The Hive, The Great Pagoda and The Palace too which all offered their unique qualities and there was a strong message surrounding a lot of their work they did.

Just as I was heading back to the train, I passed part of their new research area and decided to have a look. I saw some of the plants they were growing through the glass and also got to see what they were using as their biological control - Pinguicula!

I loved this addition to their research, plus showing it off to the public and tying it in nicely with their research.

I would definitely recommend a visit to Kew if you have never been before, it is a great place for all types of plant lovers and so worth the travel!

Here are some more pictures of my visit:

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