Stretching for 1,030 metres, Holly Walk is one of Europe’s most comprehensive collections of mature hollies.
The land that makes up Kew today once comprised two estates, divided in the middle by a thoroughfare called Love Lane, which linked Kew to Richmond. Holly Walk now traces the path of this past highway.
One of several avenues and vistas planted by Sir Joseph Hooker using single genera or families, it was laid out in 1874.
Things to look out for
Many of the trees on Holly Walk are originals that have grown there for 135 years. They exhibit white flowers in June but are most frequently visited in autumn and winter, when the different species display red, black and white berries.
The trees are underplanted with autumn colchicums or meadow saffron (Colchicum autumnael), a corm-producing European and North African plant. Although their blooms looks deceptively like crocuses, colchicums are part of the lily family. They have pink coloured flowers in autumn and produce a dark, shiny green foliage in spring.
A holly hedge lines the semi-circular path west of the Palm House. Originally yew, it was replanted with holly in 1906.