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

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

Amsterdam Day 2

On the second day in Amsterdam we visited the Stedelijk Museum as covered by my previous post. After this we went and had lunch in Vondel Park. It is a beautiful open space with ornamental lakes, wild parrots and plenty of dog walkers.

Red light

Pigeon

Gravel

Flag

Neil

Red

Twig

Twig2

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

Day 4 – Kynance Cove

We decided on a visit to the National Trust site of Kynance Cove on our last full day in Cornwall and then we would go further round to the more famous Lizard Point. Again, this wasn’t that far from our location and a quick car journey had us there in no time. We parked and walked passed the sign that said viewing area. We were greeted with the most stunning views I have ever witnessed in this country. The grins on both our faces must have been spectacular!

Kynance Cove 2

Cove 1

Cove 3

Cove 2

Kynance Cove 3

Cove 4

After literally dragging ourselves away from the cliff edge, we started to walk down to the cove itself. It has been left with natural walk ways rather than paths and very steep steps cut into the rocks, so it was quite precarious.

Kynance stream

Part way down into the cove we found this stream that fed into a lagoon which was also fed by the sea. It was quite strange but beautiful.

Stream

Stones

The beach was very pebbly and I came across this, which made me smile.

Waves 1

The current was very strong here and the waves were crashing loudly!

Waves 2

After Reiss had got himself very wet (by not anticipating a large wave) we decided to go back to the car and eat our sandwiches, then drive the 2 mins further round to Lizard point. We parked and paid in the appointed car park to walk 5 mins further and find a FREE car park! What we then found can only be described as a run down, disheveled dump! The pier itself has been covered by fallen cliff face. The old lifeboat buildings have been abandoned and weather eroded. There was a gift shop that stated it was ‘the most southern gift shop’. The Lighthouse was closed. The views were no where near as amazing as Kynance Cove. It was very disappointing, the only upside was seeing a Hawk perched on a crevice and watching it take flight!

Due to this disappointment we went back to Pentire and decided to climb the hill in front of where we were staying. We took a flask of tea and some cookies. This redeemed the afternoon as the views were much better than The Lizard.

View 1~

View 2~

Day 3 – Gweek Seal Sanctuary

For day 3 we had arranged tickets for the Cornish Seal Sanctuary. It is based in a little village called Gweek, which was about 20 minutes away and after some more precariously narrow roads we arrived.

The seals that are kept here are either being nursed back to rehabilitation, or are long term residents due to injuries that have left them unable to fend for themselves. Some are retired seals from zoos across the country.

Seal 1

Seals

These two were both partially sighted and very old. Never the less they were still gorgeous and with a lot of personality.

Sealion 3

One of the enclosures allowed you to see into the water through a concave window. The sea lions in here were very energetic and loved showing off. This particular one kept deliberately swimming across the window.

Sealion 2

Reiss and Sealion

Sealion 1

Penguin 1

As well as the seals there were 4 resident penguins, they also had a window through the water but they were a lot less co operative!

Penguin 2

Otters 1

These two are Asian otters and are the smallest of their kind. Other breeds can grow to up to 150cm which is as tall as me! 😦 Their names are Starsky and Hutch and they were very playful and loving. One of them kept juggling and catching a stone in his mouth. Very clever animals.

Otters 2

After we had finished at the sanctuary we decided to have our lunch in Gweek. Only sandwiches, but it was a fairly warm day and it was a really pretty village.

Reiss found a rope swing. It really really hurt, but was still good fun 🙂

Gweek 1

Gweek 2

We wanted to go into the harbor but you needed to gain a permit. This was a shame because we both felt there would be some good photos to be had.

When we were on our way into Helston we noticed a lot of farmland had some unusual architecture, so on the way back from Gweek we stopped to take a look.

Chimney 1

Chimney 2

Back where we were staying along our unmade track were a lot of farmers fields. At least three of them were dedicated to the growing of daffodils. Absolutely stunning were the views of these vast fields of yellow.

Daffodils

When we got back to the cottage I decided that the sky was looking rather fabulous and took these two photos of our wonderful view.

View 1

View 2

Day 2 – Pentire Barn

Day 2 of our trip we decided to explore the picturesque surroundings of where we were staying. The night before we had precariously driven down an unmade single track in trepidation. As soon as we caught sight of where we would be staying it didn’t matter anymore. It was beautiful. The surroundings and the accommodation.

We stayed at The Lower Pentire Barn. This was situated on the Carminowe Creek which is joined to the river Loe and The Loe Bar. We rambled around this area for 4 hours walking a distance of about 14km there and back.

Cottage 3

This is the view of our cottage from across the creek.

Carminowe Creek

Cottage 2

Showing where the river joins the creek.

River Loe 2

Looking from the beach of Loe Bar back towards the river.

Loe Bar

We climbed to the cliff top to continue our walk round to the woods. Reiss looking out to sea…

Loe Bar 2

The woods on the other side of the river were very dense with some unusual trees.

Woods 2

Woods

River Loe

Our cottage was equipped with a log burner which we made use of every night. It is surprising at how efficient they are. Considering the cottage had stone floors and walls the fire kept us nice and toastie and replaced the t.v. Instead of watching a film we watched the fire and played cards or Monopoly.

Fire 5

Fire 4

Fire 3

Fire 1

I have fallen in love with The Lower Pentire Barn and cannot wait to return.

Day 1 – The Eden Project

Reiss and I have just recently taken a short trip to Cornwall. From where we live in Essex to Helston (where we stayed) was about a 6.5 hour drive. To try and break this up a bit we decided to go to the Eden Project on the way there.

Biomes2

Although both of us felt that Kew Gardens in London have a wider range and is on a larger scale, The Eden Project was still worth the visit. We began by clearly disregarding all queues and just walking in (we had pre paid, but even still no one stopped us or asked us for tickets) and then began our adventure into the Rainforest Biome.

Rainforest 2

Immediately the climate change hits you and your camera lens. It is extremely close and humid, it took about half an hour of constantly cleaning my lens before it acclimatised.  However, some of the effects on the pictures were quite interesting.

Rainforest 3

This platform was 50m up from the forest floor. It is suspended by wire from the top of the biome, this made it extremely wobbly. Only 24 people are allowed up at a time. You can see through the floor and the stairs on the way up but it was surprisingly not scary.

Rainforest 5

The biomes themselves were really interesting and made some amazing patterns. They really stand out next to all of the foliage.

Waterfall

This biome was complete with waterfall to add even more moisture into the mix.

Waterfall 2

From here we went to the Mediterranean Biome. Which we thought would be a hot climate for cacti etc. However it was just pleasant in temperature. There was a pasty competition going on all day in this biome with live music from The Wurzels.

Mediterranean

There was a lot of unusual characters in this biome.

Mediterranean 2

Mediterranean 5

Mediterranean 6

Mediterranean 7

I found this guy amongst some tulips!

Mediterranean 3

Tulip

These were the only plant life as such that I found of interest in this climate, although I loved the smell of the orange groves. Unfortunately I am unable to capture the smell. 😦

Mediterranean 8

I found this rather large character outside. Due to the time of year the outside was mainly in hibernation. During spring and summer I am sure it is a wonderful sight.

Bumble bee

The domes themselves are really interesting and made for some strange shapes.

Biomes1

Overall a good visit, it broke up our traveling and was a good first day for our trip.