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

 

 

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

A Lonely Walk

At the moment I am signed off work and cannot go to public places. Im starting to get a little cabin fever so I decided to go for a walk around my local nature reserve. I know the walks where your not likely to see anyone. For my birthday I got a new lens the 55mm – 250mm and some of my shots were experimental with this new lens.

Firstly I walked to The Plotlands, the museum is called Little Haven and is a house that was used originally as holiday homes for wealthy Londoners and then as shelters for children during the air raids. Although it was closed you can still go into the gardens. I found a wheel barrow full of glass bottles.

Bottles

Bottles 2

Through the window I could see this medicine cabinet, I love the vintage advertising.

Medicine cabenet

soap copy

I walked from here through a pathway that is seldom used. I had forgotten why. It has the remains of other Plotland houses that have collapsed to the right of the path. There was a keep out sign, but I ignored that.

I only scratched the surface of this area as I didn’t have a respirator and the air quality was poor. I will be going back.

fallen house

Jacket

Bread

Next I walked over to the lake. The usual stuff here but I did pluck up the courage to venture through the cow field on my own. Reiss you should be proud!

Mallard 2

Cow

Cows 2

From the top of the lake and up the hill, there is an amazing view of the landscape between Langdon Hills and London. As the crow flies, The City Of London is about 30  miles.

view copy

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