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Monday, June 21, 2010

The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, London

The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, usually referred to as Kew Gardens, are 121 hectares of gardens and botanical glasshouses between Richmond and Kew in southwest London, England.


The most famous attraction here is the Palm House which is specialised for the growing palms and other tropical and subtropical plants.



The Temperate greenhouse has twice the floor area of the Palm House and contains plants and trees from all the temperate regions of the world. It also houses the Chilean wine palm which is the worlds tallest indoor plant reaching a height of over 16 metres.




The Xstrata Treetop Walkway

This walkway is 18 metres (59 ft) high and 200 metres (660 ft) long and takes visitors into the tree canopy of a woodland glade. The floor of the walkway is made from perforated metal and flexes as it is walked upon. The entire structure sways in the wind. The view from the walkway is wonderful.





The Great Pagoda erected in the year 1762 stands in the South East corner of Kew Gardens. The pagoda's design is an imitation of the Chinese Ta. The lowest of the ten octagonal storeys is 49 feet (15 m) in diameter. From the base to the highest point is 163 feet (50 m).



The Chokushi-Mon is a four-fifths scale replica of the karamon (gateway) of the Nishi Hongan-ji temple in Kyoto. It was built for the Japan-British Exhibition in 1910 and moved to Kew in 1911,  It is located near the Pagoda and is surrounded by a reconstruction of a traditional Japanese rock garden.




The Alpine House
Rare and unusual Alpine plants can be seen inside the Davies Alpine House


Inside the Evolution House




The Order Beds and Rose Pergola
The rose pergola was built in 1959 to mark the bicentennial of the Kew Gardens. It supports climber and rambling roses selected for the length and profusion of flowering.



Queen Charlotte's house
Within the conservation area is a cottage that was given to Queen Charlotte as a wedding present on her marriage to George III. Lovely little place.


The Water Lily House
It is one of the most hottest and humid glasshouses in Kew and is home to a host of tropical and ornamental aquatic plants


The museum near the Palm House
It was opened in 1857 and aims to illustrate humans' dependence on plants. It houses Kew's economic botany collections including tools, ornaments, clothing, food and medicines. The upper two floors are now an education centre and the ground floor houses the "Plants+People" exhibition which highlights the variety of plants and the ways that people use them.


The Princess of Wales Conservatory which was opened by Diana, Princess of Wales, houses ten computer-controlled micro-climatic zones, with the bulk of the greenhouse volume composed of Dry Tropics and Wet Tropics plants.




The Rhizotron
The rhizotron is essentially a single gallery containing a set of large bronze abstract castings which contain LCD screens that carry repeating loops of information about the life of trees.


The Sackler Crossing bridge is made of granite and bronze and is named in honour of philanthropists Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler.



The Rock Garden
Originally built of limestone in 1882 it is now constructed of Sussex sandstone from West Hoathly, Sussex. The rock garden is divided into 6 geographic regions: Europe, Mediterranean & Africa, Australia & New Zealand, Asia, North America and South America. There are currently 2,480 different 'accessions' growing in the garden.




The Badger Sett

Badgers are nightly visitors at the gardens and there were marked burrows at many places in the garden. There was also a simulation of a badgers burrow for the humans :) We went it and it was fun.





We were also lucky enough to be paid a visit by a peacock. After photographing some flowers near the Queens Cottage, as we turned around we saw this peacock right behind us - as though looking at what we were upto. Got to see it from really close quarters. Amazing...





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