26 October 2009

Kew Gardens

Entering Kew Gardens is just like going to a Victorian Theme Park. The park grounds include two of the oldest and largest glass and iron Victorian greenhouses in the world, as well as some of the rarest plants, collected by English explorers for the past 250 years. This includes the world's tallest flower, the worlds tallest indoor plant at over 18 meters, the oldest potted plant (which happens to be a very contorted palm), some of the worlds largest water lilies, and plants that have been growing at kew since the 18th century.

Above is a photo of me in front of the Oriental Pagoda, which is actually made out of a substantial brick core. It is such an intresting product of the eastern architectural influence of traveler's stories and sketches during the 18th and 19th century. Below is a photograph of the Alpine House, a recent addition to Kew Gardens, surrounded by the Grass Garden and Rock Garden. The Alpine House houses some of the most delicate looking flowing plants I have ever seen. Each flower seemed designed to be perfectly suited to its enviroment, yet extremely delicate.

Above - me in the largest of the greenhouses - walking on the catwalk, which allows visitors to overlook the extensive plantings as well as walk among the treetops of some of the most amazing indoor plants in the world.

Below - a palm towers above visitor's heads, barely scraping the iron and glass dome. This structure is probably the closest anyone can come to visualizing the extensive iron and glass structure of the Crystal Palace - which was designed for the Great Exhibition under the patronage of Prince Albert. Sadly, this structure was moved from it original site and was eventually destroyed by fire during the early 19th century.

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