For some reason, all of our previous trips to London have been in the dead of winter. This time we managed to arrive in early spring, and were thus treated to the spring bulb display at Kew Gardens. I have never seen a lawn of crocuses before.
As I was settling in to take this photo, a little girl ran past me and straight into the field of flowers, intentionally targeting them and stomping them into the ground. I looked at the sidewalk, where two women were standing and talking with each other. They appeared to be keeping watch on the child out of the corners of their eyes, but saw no issue with her stomping the crap out of flowers that other people had come to enjoy. When the girl came within hearing range of me, I said, “Oh, don’t step on the flowers!” — in a tone of voice meant to reach the women, not the girl. Right on cue, they were suddenly solicitous, stepping to the edge of the walk and calling the girl out of the flowers while telling her not to hurt them.
I figure, if shaming ’em works, use it.
There was also a fantabulous daffodil display, which my wife photographed with her brand new iPod touch. (That little thing has a fine camera in it, if all you want is a fully automatic camera. I’m slightly jealous.)
According to the signs, there are “tens of thousands” of Narcissus ‘February gold’ daffodils planted along the Broad Walk, many of which are funded by donations in the names of loved ones. I like the idea of planting daffodils at Kew Gardens as a memorial.
The sign also noted that the UK daffodil industry is the largest in the world, currently worth £31 million per year (36.4 million euros, or 47.6 million dollars).
In another area was this tiny little spring bulb, which I did not find the name of. Any ideas?
They’re an intense blue, very eye catching. Here’s a closeup, which I took while shading the flowers with my body in order to get true color:
I’d thought this might be a Tecophilaea, but when I found two pots of labeled Tecophilaea in a glasshouse, the pistils were clearly not the same. Botanist opinions are welcome!
In the meantime, I’m making plans to visit Kew in the late spring someday…or maybe even the summer. Then again, if I go to London and actually feel warm sunshine, I might not recover from the shock.
(Click any image to enflorate.)
UPDATE: With the help of commenter Ana and Google Images, I’ve identified the mystery flower as Glory of the Snow, Chionodoxa siehei.