Kew – Royal Botanical Gardens

WELCOME to the 2014 #AtoZ Blog Challenge

Inspired By My Pinterest Boards:  This Year’s Category is GARDENING

Scan 28

If you are headed to London, I have a suggestion. In 1997 my husband and I visited The Royal Botanical Gardens -Kew – 10 miles from central London and adjacent to the river Thames. It is easy to get there by traveling on The District Line- Richmond branch, which is the closest London Underground station. Wear good walking shoes and visit the world’s largest collection of living plants and the herbarium, the largest in the world.  Because of this visit to Kew, I later created a fictional character, Henry Bernard, trained and working at Kew, who is pivotal to the story, Greening of a Heart.

When Henry arrives in the Village of Burford he brings a mystery with him. A newly renovated Vicarage garden is a part of that mystery. Henry agrees to work with Hannah Winchester while on a sabbatical from Kew hoping to find the answers he seeks. 

From a scene, Hannah awaits the arrival of an intern from Kew that Henry has arranged for. Frances Harper is one of my favorite characters in the novel.

Hannah went to sit of the front steps to wait for her new intern. A car turned into the drive and she watched a young woman, pony tail sticking out the hole of a Chicago Cubs baseball cap, get out and stride towards her.

I have wonderful memories of our visit to Kew all those years ago. There were happy hours researching about Kew for the book. From that research I imagined two young people integral to the story that I miss as I move on to a second novel. For more information: Kew Gardens


About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her:
This entry was posted in AtoZ Blog Challenge -April 2014 and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Kew – Royal Botanical Gardens

  1. Rosie Amber says:

    Do you know I haven’t been there for years and years, I must return after reading your post.

  2. denizb33 says:

    I’d love to visit Kew Gardens someday!

    Great idea for an AtoZ theme 🙂

  3. Anabel Marsh says:

    Thanks for dropping by my travel blog earlier. I’m not a gardener, but I do love visiting gardens so your posts seem a perfect mixture. Actually, you had me at the Cicero quote. I’m a librarian, and that’s one if my favourites!

  4. shanjeniah says:

    Last year, I visited the Sayen Gardens in Hamilton, NJ – a lovely outdoor display of flowers and trees….the pictures I took! The writing inspiration I received – it was like being transported into my story world, again and again, in various ways.

    I’ve been to other wonderful gardens – on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, here in upstate New York, and in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, for example…but this one fed my the wild places in my soul as no other!

    I love the role the Kew Gardens played in your story, and maybe I’ll get the chance to see them myself, one day.

    Thanks for stopping by, so that I could find and enjoy your blog, too! =)

    • Visiting gardens has been one of the blessings of my life and I will admit to a slight addiction to garden books, especially the ones that chronicle famous gardens and their gardeners. Wish we could stroll together down one of those garden paths. I know we would have fun together. Come back when you can.

  5. Thank you for visiting my blog earlier, I have really enjoyed reading through your posts for the challenge I’m afraid I am not a very good gardener but I do love to visit and get lost in inspiring gardens. I am not that far from Kew so I think a visit is long over due!

    • How I wish we could plan a trip together and spend part of a day. How about tea when we wear out and visiting about our blog experience. Blogging/social media has become a great excuse to keep me from working on a second novel. But, hey, I wouldn’t want to have missed your visit.

  6. JC Gatlin says:

    Great blog topic. It’s especially impressive to me because I even kill the plastic plants! I hope you write that mystery novel some day. Botanical gardens will make a great setting.

    Good luck with the A to Z challenge!

    JC Gatlin, Mystery Author

  7. It’s interesting how places can inspire characters and plots. And I know what you mean about missing characters. I miss mine when I move on to a new novel, and I have to go back and read their stories again to keep in touch. Thanks for visiting my blog today!

  8. afshan18 says:

    Thats cool to know that U wrote a whole novel based on the largest botanical garden- Kew !

  9. sharu4ever says:

    I hope to visit Kew Gardens someday 🙂

  10. Jeanne Grunert says:

    Saw your comment on my blog, Seven Oaks, and had to come and see your blog, too. Wow! Love it! I’ve never been to Kew, but it’s on my list of things to see. I look forward to following your blog, too. The A to Z Challenge has introduced me to so many wonderful writers!

  11. buttercup2000 says:

    I am heading to London this summer. I’m not sure if I can add Kew to the list of things to see — never enough time to see everything I want — but this is a great idea. Visiting from A to Z Challenge.

    • Instead of Kew, go to Wisley RHS gardens. They have a fantastic book store for garden books. Skipping those two options go directly to Charring Cross Road and visit all the book stores. Be sure to rent the movie, 84 Charring Cross Road with Ann Bancroft and ahhhhhhh Anthony Hopkins before you go. Wish I could meet you for tea across the street from Harrods. Come back and visit if you have time before the month is over for more English ‘stuff.’

  12. Chasing Joy says:

    Sounds like lovely memories indeed.

  13. Marlene says:

    Hopefully someday I make it back to London.
    Marlene at On Writing and Riding

  14. It’s great that you can work your gardening travels into your fiction.


  15. Chrys Fey says:

    I would love to go to London one day and see all the beautiful landmarks and architecture. The Kew will be on my list of places to visit. 🙂

  16. Save your quarters in a piggy bank. My husband tells me I now have enough saved to take a cab to the airport. Come back for more posts on English topics.

  17. Kristen says:

    Next time I visit London, I’ll definitely go! I met with friends last time, and all they wanted to do was shop. That won’t happen again. 🙂

    Random Musings from the KristenHead — K is for Kristen (and the KristenHead Nickname)

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