“White butterflies danced one above another, making with their white shifting flakes the outline of a shattered marble column above the tallest flowers; the glass roofs of the palm house shone as if a whole market full of shiny green umbrellas had opened in the sun; and in the drone of the aeroplane the voice of the summer sky murmured its fierce soul.”
On a hot summer’s day, the Palm House at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, sees the shuffle of thousands of visitors. While some are glad to catch a moment’s rest, others have been inspired by the house’s magnificent displays—both floral and human. A century ago, one of the Garden’s most famous visitors turned her observations into an enchanting story.
Kew Gardens is one of Virginia Woolf’s earliest short stories. The gentle narrative drifts among an eclectic group of visitors as they stroll through the Gardens, including a young couple, a pair of middle-aged ladies looking for tea, and even a snail making a determined trek through the flower beds. Woolf creates an impressionistic world with snippets of conversation, wondering thoughts, and sparks of color.
This edition published by Kew features delightful illustrations by Livi Mills. It will be a treasured addition to the bookshelves of Woolfians everywhere.