Kew flowers

Kew Garden flowers

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.)

Kew Garden daffodils

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?

mystery flower 1

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:

mystery flower closeup

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.

About Fletcher DeLancey

Socialist heathen and Mac-using author of the Chronicles of Alsea, who enjoys pondering science, politics, well-honed satire (though sarcastic humor can work, too) and all things geeky.
This entry was posted in travel, wildflowers. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Kew flowers

  1. Dee says:

    I have seen these before. We call them wood hyacinth. Not sure if they are related to the real thing or not.

  2. Ana says:

    My Google-fu tells me they ight be Scilla siberica ‘Spring Beauty’.

    • Ana says:

      *might. My Google-fu is powerful; my typing not so much. 😀

      • oregon expat says:

        LOL. I do like the idea of Google-fu, though.

        Yours led me to a page full of images, many of which did not look quite right. But some of them did, and one of them led me to this site, which led me to type “Chionodoxa siehei” into Google Images, which led me to a whole collection of images that looked just right. The one that immediately caught my eye was obviously taken at Kew Gardens, so I followed that link and found this.

        What a great name — “Glory of the snow.”

        So, thank you!

        EDITED TO ADD: And some lovely soul on Flickr took a photograph of an explanatory sign. Perfect.

  3. Alma says:

    Those little blue flowers look a great deal like scilla. They bloom all over Stockholm at this time of year.
    Oh, and Ana has already told you that… being redundant here… 😀

  4. Stan says:

    Fletcher, in the 1980s I spent a six-month academic sabbatical in London. When I wasn’t in the lab, my first choice for a mental health break was Kew, which I visited perhaps a dozen times. I would for sure encourage you to go back for several visits, because it changes so wonderfully with the seasons.

    • oregon expat says:

      I surely plan to, thank you! Kew is one place I can go back to again and again. If I lived in the area, I’d be an annual member for sure. (Also a member of the National Trust — so many great gardens to see.)

  5. Ana_ñ says:

    How beautiful!

    (And for those not caring adults: Oh, sorry, I stamped on your bunion, by accident… repeatedly)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s