Now obviously having a hole in your neck can put a dampener on holiday activities with the kids, so there hasn’t been much going out of the house. However I’m back at work now and although I’m not completely mended yet, I could just about stagger around Kew, specially as it’s local to us and having a membership means you don’t have to worry about getting your money’s worth out of the entry price, so you can just pop in and out.
I had actually planned on taking the kids to Kew before my operation but the weather had been pretty miserable and as it turns out the weather is still miserable but it’s forecast to remain miserable all week and there was only so much more sitting in the house I could take. So after I finished my morning shift, come rain or shine, we were going to Kew.
As it happened it stopped raining pretty much as soon as my shift ended, so we headed out and got a rain free (at first) Kew pretty much all to ourselves and a quiet Kew is pretty unusual in the school holidays. There’s a spice festival on there at the moment (it finishes when the schools go back, although already we couldn’t find several things that were listed on the festival map, although that may just have been the bad weather) and we wanted to see that and we also wanted to see the Amorphophallus titanum, which I had been following on Twitter and which I knew had recently flowered and was meant to smell to high heaven. Amorphophallus titanum flowering is meant to be rare and unpredictable and absolutely massive, I think (from what I can remember on Twitter), the large flowering structure reached way over two metres at the weekend.
The Amorphophallus titanum (titan arum) in all its glory today at Kew. Just starting to wilt, it will colla… https://t.co/ycQzgKY5pK
— Kew Gardens (@kewgardens) August 23, 2015
However when we saw it today the sticky up pointy thing (aka the phallus) had collapsed, so we were just left with this, it wasn’t really stinky either but still pretty striking.
The spice festival part was pretty good too, although like I said, some of it didn’t seem to be there. There was an impressive display of different chilli plants, arranged from no spiciness at all (i.e. bell peppers) to the absolute extreme chilli plants, Boy Lacer was very interested in that. There were also display points throughout the Gardens with information about different spices plus a pavilion made of glass jars of spices (the photos at the top of this post).
I think the best bit though was an activity called The Dough Kitchen, where the kids could make cinnamon flavoured korvapuusti, which were made from pre-prepared pulla dough flavoured with cardamon. The guys running the activity were extremely helpful, specially with Boy Lacer, who, although a bright boy, is not the most dexterous with some practical stuff (and I was flaked out on a nearby chair). The korvapuusti were absolutely delicious too, we will need to make more.
We did wander around some more, managing to find bits of Kew that we hadn’t seen before, like an ice house and a ‘cage’ of wisteria (despite going frequently there since the kids were babies) as we don’t normally visit the Princess of Wales conservatory end of the Gardens. It rained a little bit, on and off but it soon looked like it was going to start bucketing it down again, so we made our escape, not making it quite in time to shelter, before getting a soaking.