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

 

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 Part 2 – Rainforest

This is the second stop on my Kew Gardens tour. The rainforest conservatory.

‘Heating was an important element of the glasshouse’s design, as tropical palms need a warm, moist environment to thrive.

Originally, basement boilers sent heat into the glasshouse via water pipes running beneath iron gratings in the floor. A tunnel ran between the Palm House and the Italianate Campanile smoke stack that stands beside Victoria Gate. This 150-metres-long (490 ft) passage served the dual purpose of carrying away sooty fumes to be released from the chimney and enabling coal to be brought to the boilers by underground railway.

Today, the glasshouse is heated using gas and the tunnel houses Palm House Keeper Wesley Shaw’s office.’

Coconut Furry Palm Palm Purple palm Texture Tree

 

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

 

 

North Weald Redoubt 2nd visit

This is the second time that I have visited North Weald Redoubt, for information about the site please see my previous post. This time there was the three of us, Reiss, Tom and myself and the weather was much better, however it is still heavily flooded as you will see from the photos. We managed to explore the whole site this time, minus the underground vaults, due to the flooding.

Cable

wood Wall

Hook

door

Grate

Reiss

Power

Beams

Grafitti Grafitti 2

Eyes

 

 

 

Coalhouse Fort – Tilbury

Saturday 5th April

Reiss and I decided to take the dog for a family outing/photography trip to Coalhouse Fort situated in East Tilbury on The Thames’ Estuary.

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Strategically placed on the Essex peninsular, Coalhouse Point, this unique site has been developed as a defensive position from 1402.  With a near 180 degree arc of fire across the bend in the River Thames at Stanford-le-Hope and back towards London this location was chosen as earthwork defences, Henrician blockhouse and the Victorian Coastal Defence fortress which stands today.”

There are many aspects to the area now, which include; a park area with a zip wire and picnic benches, marshland areas, the coastal area on the estuary including the watch tower, the Fort itself and some inlet water areas. Reiss and I didn’t venture into the Fort as it is only open on set days throughout the year, however the surrounding area is fascinating and offered fantastic photography opportunities.

Estuary Fort1 Skyward StepsIn the opposite direction, a power plant is in full view. A stark contrast to the natural beauty around you in the park area.

Handstand

Powerstation Powerstation2

The lookout tower has fallen into disrepair and has had some railings removed to stop the public getting to it.

Lookout

Lookout2 Handrail Brickwork Strut Strut2

Lastly their was the ‘beach’ area, it had so many wooden structures that have just been left to rot. They really were beautiful.

Waves Fingers in the sand Estury 1 Estuary 1 Estuary Reiss I don’t know if Reiss was aware that I was taking this picture, but he looked straight at me 🙂

 

Seaweed

 

 

North Weald Redoubt

Reiss and I finally had a weekend off where the weather was ok! We did some research and found a new site to explore. It isn’t too far from us and this visit was to scout it out and get a feel for the area.

It is called North Weald redoubt. Between 1889 and 1903 13 Mobilisation Centres were built as part of the London Defence Scheme. Their main function was as a store for guns, small arms ammunition, tools and other equipment required for the batteries and infantry. The North Weald Redoubt was the first of the mobilisation centres to be constructed and the only centre north of the Thames. It is situated on high ground to the south of North Weald Bassett.

It is abandoned and derelict now. It has been heavily vandalised and is flooded at the moment. However, we will be returning when the weather clears up further.

dangersign

blue

house

Metal 2

Metal b+w

pipe

wire

Block