Kew Gardens revisited
Trip Start Mar 14, 2006
241Trip End Mar 15, 2007
Last time I saw Kew, I was in quite a rush; however, this time we took a nice slow pace through the gardens. Saw an old wisteria bush which covered a glasshouse built in 1761 by Princess Augusta (wife of Prince Frederick, Prince of Wales). The glasshouse was taken down about 100 years later. There was also a dry area - like the mid west - in which I took a photo of the Hills and a gallery of paintings of the late 1800's artist, Marianne North which demonstrates the use of natural lighting as employed in ancient Greek temples. We thought it a bit unusual that the building was entirely enclosed.
At a structure called the Ruined Arch (a mock Roman Ruin - of the type very popular as ornamental garden features in the 1700s; it is now more ruinous than it was when it was built as it has deteriorated over the centuries), we ran into the person acting the part of its builder, Sir William Chambers, who was bewigged and gartered as he might have been in the 1700s
The Pagoda was really a marvelous structure. It was explained to us by the person acting as the designer and is 10 stories high. He got the idea when he was in China apparently and it is, of course, designed after a couple of pagodas he saw while there. The fascinating thing about the building is that it retains its' perspective although it becomes narrower in circumference as it goes up and the steps between the stairs are smaller with each story. We climbed all the way up and were glad we did this in the morning as the higher we got, the hotter and more humid it became. We got quite a good view from the top and marveled at the inventiveness which created it. The view was not great as the heat blanked it out in almost every direction after about a kilometer
During one of our stops for the day, in a leafy grape arbor, we had "real" English (Fentiman's) Ginger Beer and Lemonade. I took a photo to celebrate this and we all wondered if it had been used by DLS when she created her characters, the Fentimans for her book, "Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club".
We marveled at the sequential glass houses known as the Palm House (http://www.greatbuildings.com/buildings/Palm_House_at_Kew_Gardens.html). The design is fascinating and includes intricate iron, glass, wood and plaster work. While it was very hot in there it was very interesting and informative. In one of the fish ponds, there was some kind of plant which was hugely attractive to the carp or whatever fish were in there. They were eating it like a cat might eat catnip. The displays included hundreds of what we might know as hothouse plants from literally all over the world. And when I think of the fact at my ancestor probably had a hand it its development, I was completely in awe. Really, all I could do was marvel and take photos. .
As the afternoon progressed, the rain started and it felt like thunder. We continued our trip dodging raindrops. All four of us wound up wearing ponchos and we all looked rather silly but at least we were kept dry.
Other highlights included a California Sequoia, a mama and a number of feeding baby grebes and a pair of Golden Pheasants. Managed to take a photo in the rain of a barge boat going down the Thames from Kew. Some day I hope to travel down the river that way.