Kew Gardens covers 300 acres of land in the greater London area. It is an excellent place to go if you have only a few hours as well as a place to visit if you have days. Bring your walking shoes, but if your feet should fail you, Kew has a shuttle bus that circles the area and may be worth the low priced day fare.
We visited only a very small portion of the gardens, but we were still able to get a lot in. What looks like a small distance on the map is surprisingly a long distance. There is a lot of open space between some of the areas, which lends itself to a nice stroll, but also assures you that there will always be room for more.
The is probably a garden for almost every taste. The diversity is well exemplified, including Asian gardens, tropical gardens, desert gardens, woodland gardens, and water gardens. Many of the gardens we visited were very impressive, while other parts did not meet with what I may have expected (the 'Rose Garden' had patches of same color roses - red here - yellow there - separated by lawn, though I expected an immense diversity of roses from tea to miniature - oh well!)
This house impressed us the most. The display was very interesting and vastly different from the other gardens at Kew or for anywhere else. The small house includes displays that accompany educational signs that explain the evolution of plant life - including seeds, spores, flowers. We suspected, too, that when you walk to a new section, a beam detects you and a recording describes the era, but it seemed not to work the day we visited.
Princess of Wales House
This house has many different gardening zones. When we approached the house, the garden on the outside had a very familiar feel to it. Sure enough, it was an example of the same zone as the desert southwest. It was very well done, especially considering that there is not a lot of desert in England to model it after.
Inside the house is a labyrinth of rooms and floors with examples of zones outside of the UK, but very familiar to many parts of the United States. One section even looked like the woods in back of our house with ferns and other familiar flora.
The part of this place that I really enjoyed the most was the examples of sunny bog garden plants - a room filled with different types of pitcher plants. One of the largest collections I have ever seen.
Water Garden House
The Water Garden House was very small, but a nice treat. We visited in September and the room was full of blooming lilies in a center pool and morning glories wrapped the metal structure of the ceiling to give a small garden an abundance of color.
The rock garden was nice to wander around in after being in buildings all day. There were lots of nice details and water features worked into the design. Once section was designed to look like the North East United States which was pretty interesting. We found this garden inspiring and we hope to do our own rock garden some day.