Kew Part 4 – The lilypond

This is my favourite part of Kew Gardens with the Tropics running a close second. The colours are so vibrant and fantastic, the size of the pads are amazing and the overall feel to this special place is unlike any other…

White Pink 2 Pink 1 Leaves 1 bud Leaves 2 Purple

Some fairy spirit with his wand,
I think, has hovered o’er the dell,
And spread this film upon the pond,
And touched it with this drowsy spell.

For here the musing soul is merged
In moods no other scene can bring,
And sweeter seems the air when scourged
With wandering wild-bees’ murmuring.

One ripple streaks the little lake,
Sharp purple-blue; the birches, thin
And silvery, crowd the edge, yet break
To let a straying sunbeam in.

How came we through the yielding wood,
That day, to this sweet-rustling shore?
Oh, there together while we stood,
A butterfly was wafted o’er,

In sleepy light; and even now
His glimmering beauty doth return
Upon me, when the soft winds blow,
And lilies toward the sunlight yearn.

The yielding wood? And yet ‘t was both
To yield unto our happy march;
Doubtful it seemed, at times, if both
Could pass its green, elastic arch.

Yet there, at last, upon the marge
We found ourselves, and there, behold,
In hosts the lilies, white and large,
Lay close, with hearts of downy gold!

Deep in the weedy waters spread
The rootlets of the placid bloom:
So sprung my love’s flower, that was bred
In deep, still waters of heart’s-gloom.

So sprung; and so that morn was nursed
To live in light, and on the pool
Wherein its roots were deep immersed
Burst into beauty broad and cool.

Few words were said; a moment passed;
I know not how it came–that awe
And ardor of a glance that cast
Our love in universal law!

But all at once a bird sang loud,
From dead twigs of the gleamy beech;
His notes dropped dewy, as out of a cloud,
A blessing on our married speech.

Ah, Love! how fresh and rare, even now,
That moment and that mood return
Upon me, when the soft winds blow,
And lilies toward the sunlight yearn!

George Parsons Lathrop’s poem: Lily-Pond

 

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Kew Gardens Part 3 – The Tropics

The Princess Of Wales Conservatory

The Princess of Wales Conservatory was commissioned in 1982 to replace a group of 26 smaller buildings that were falling into disrepair. It was named after Princess Augusta, founder of Kew, and opened in 1987 by Diana, Princess of Wales. It is the most complex conservatory at Kew, containing ten computer-controlled climatic zones under one roof.

The two main climate zones are the ‘dry tropics’, representing the world’s warm, arid areas, and the ‘wet tropics’, housing moisture loving plants from ecosystems such as rainforests and mangrove swamps. The eight remaining microclimates include a seasonally dry zone containing desert and savanna plants, plus sections for carnivorous plants, ferns and orchids.

There is also a ‘time-capsule’ buried at the southern end of the conservatory. Sir David Attenhorough (My Hero) placed it in the foundations there in 1985 as part of the WWF’s plants campaign. It contains seeds of basic food crops and endangered species, it is not due to be exhumed until 2085. By this time, many of the plants it contains may have become rare, or extinct!

Sprinklerorange high fivehanging

 

Kew Gardens

The weather the weekend just gone was beautiful and to celebrate this, Reiss and I went to Kew Gardens.

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew was founded in 1759 and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003. Kew Gardens is one of London’s top visitor attractions and Wakehurst, the second garden in West Sussex, is home to Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank.

Over the past 250 years Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew has made innumerable contributions to increasing the understanding of plants and fungus with many benefits for mankind.

‘Our science and conservation work helps to discover and describe the world’s plant and fungal diversity, safeguards the world’s plant life for our future and promotes the sustainable use of plants.’

The area covers 300 acres and is divided into many sections, covering a diverse range of plant life. Also to be seen are many different exhibitions and wildlife such as peacocks, geese and squirrels. Due to this diverse range I will be splitting my posts into 4 areas to break up a large amount of photos taken.

I am going to start with the outdoor gardens.

The classic image of the Palm House at Kew Gardens, this is the rainforest conservatory and is the most important surviving Victorian Iron and Glass structure in the world. It was designed to accommodate the exotic palms being collected and introduced to Europe in the early Victorian times. (sorry about the people :P)

 

Conservatory

Japanese garden

The Japanese garden area is dominated by a massive structure shown above, it can be seen across the park. Although impressive, it is extremely difficult to capture! I much preferred the texture underneath 🙂

Red

Finally, outside the Lillypond House there were some beautiful flowers being pollinated by some wonderful bees! Again hard to capture but I gave it a go!

Bumblebee

 

 

The Horniman Museum and Gardens

Sunday 8th December, Reiss and I ventured to a museum in London called The Horniman Museum and Gardens. We weren’t sure what we were expecting to see but I was delighted by the range and scope of this museum. The gardens include a small petting zoo and an allotment. The Museum itself houses a taxidermy wing, and assortment of curiosities, a music wing, a photography exhibition and an aquarium.

All of the grounds and exhibitions are free to enter except a small fee of £3 per person for the aquarium, for the upkeep of the tanks. We spent around 3/4 hours here and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Greenhouse and clocktower

Greenhouse

Bird

Rodent

My favourite thing in the museum was the jellyfish tank in the aquarium. They were beautiful and mesmerising.

Jellyfish 1

Jellyfish 2

Jellyfish 3

The Open Top Tour Bus

I have lived 35 minutes away from London my entire life. I have enjoyed many a thing in our capital but have actively avoided the tourist filled activities. However, I thought that maybe, with a friend, that an open top bus tour of London on a nice day might be good fun.

Not one to miss a photo opportunity my camera came along for the ride as well. I embarked at London Victoria coach station, onto a Harrods bus and we took a trip through to Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament, past St Pauls Cathedral and up Fleet Street. Past The Monument and over London Bridge, back over Tower Bridge and stopped for a while at The Tower. Then onto a Thames Clipper down to Embankment and back on to the bus to Buckingham Palace. A short break at the Palace and back to London Victoria. It lasted around 4 hours in total and was quite enjoyable. The Thames Clipper could have been missed out in my opinion, but I got some interesting views.

As you can imagine, photography wasn’t at a premium but I did achieve 3 that I was happy with.

City Hall

A view of City Hall from The Tower Of London

Golden

Sights around Buckingham Palace

Lion

Crystal Palace Park

Saturday just gone, Reiss and I decided to make another attempt at a successful photography outing. I have a book bought for me by my mum called Secret London. It has lots of unusual places to visit. When browsing through we discovered a page dedicated to Crystal Palace Gardens. I thought that there was nothing left of The Crystal Palace and was intrigued straight away. The Crystal Palace was destroyed in a fire in 1936 and was a tragic loss to our cultural history. Find out more here.

Our day did not start as planned, I awoke with a headache and waiting for the tablets to kick in put us behind half hour. Then we had both forgotten our coats – it was FREEZING! Once in the station Reiss realised he was wearing the most inadequate shoes for a park. All that went out the window as soon as we went past on the train. From the window of the train we could see a lake surrounded in Dinosaurs. What a sight when we actually got to the park. On inspection of a map we also found that their were ruins of the steps, archways and sphinxes left as well as a maze, a small children’s farm and lots of open space to walk around.

The Dinosaurs

The dinosaurs and mammals were built by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins in 1854, they were the first dinosaur sculptures in the world, pre-dating the publication of Charles Darwins – Origin of Species by six years. They are considered out of date and inaccurate by modern standards but I loved them just the same. Excitedly scurrying from one to the other trying to learn what they were and get closer for better photos.

Anoplotherium

peekabo

Iguanodons and Pterodactyl

Hunting

Dino Colour

Megalosaurus

Dino sepia

Ictheyosaurus

Water Dino

Megatherium

Sloth

Sloth 2

The Sphinxes

As you walk to the back of the park you are greeted with a grand staircase to nothing. This is what is left of The Crystal Palace. There are two tiers, some broken columns which used to have plant urns on top, some broken statues and at the top and to the sides are the sphinxes. These got me so excited I climbed through some broken fencing to get a better view… couldn’t help myself 😛

Sphinx landscape

Sphinx b+w

Sphinx

Last but by no means least.

Kune Kune pig

KuniKuni

This guy was the star attraction at the little farm, although the cockerel was something to behold also.

I had an amazing day out, very pleased with how it went and would definitely go again.

Weirdness, statues and m&m’s!

Well this will be a little bit different. So Reiss and I went out on Sunday to London. I had said how a lot of my photography seemed based on nature and I would like to try to test new things. Push my boundaries as it were. So we decided a city walk would be best. With no real route in mind we went up to the city and found ourselves at St Paul’s Cathedral. This is my favourite building in London. I have never been inside and got my chance to and what a wonderment it is. Completely fascinating in all its glorious, intricate design. Unfortunately photography is not allowed. However, when walking around the grounds some interesting statues caught my eye.

statues

Statue

After this no more photos were taken. However, what an afternoon! We went to China Town and Reiss bought some strawberry Pocky which I sampled later. We saw some odd-looking food ‘delicacies’ such as orange squid! From here we walked through to Trafalgar Square where we come across and restaurant called The Rainforest Cafe. A talking tree inside made me jump…. Next we walked past the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Building with an unusual animatronics band playing. After we went into Leicester Square where we went in The Trocadero. Lastly we stumbled upon a 4 storied M&M shop with so much merchandise it was unreal, alongside an extremely sickly smell.

All in all a fantabulous day was had.