Monday 18 July 2005

A day in Kew Gardens

I had seen the advertisements for the Dale Chihuly glass exhibit there, and they looked amazing.  According to the advertisements:

Gardens of Glass: Chihuly at Kew is the first exhibition of its kind to be held in Europe. A spectacular sequence of organically shaped and vibrantly coloured glass sculptures will be set throughout Kew’s 300-acre garden landscape and inside the great glasshouses. The exhibition has been specifically designed to respond to Kew’s living collections, landscape, architecture and vistas and the visitor’s experience of the work will alter dramatically from day to night and from season to season.</i>

I had seen his work previously at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art, and was impressed then, but nothing could have prepared me for the amazing beauty that the natural landscape could provide.  Perfect compliments, there were several that you would walk by thinking they were plants!  The gardens themselves are impressive even without the glass, but the two together could absolutely not be missed!

This is mostly going to be a tale in pictures, as they do the gardens and the glass the most justice.  We spent most of our times in the <a href="">glasshouses </a> where the installations were. . .and it still took us over 5 hours!  There is plenty to see, and probably one of the few places in London where the yearly membership would be a fantastic bargain.  (by the way, clicking on the link above will take you through virtual tours of the various greenhouses themselves)

We started with the world renown Palm House.  One of the oldest greenhouses in the world.  It was completely rebuilt in the late 1980s, but the overall architectural style is identical to the original Victorian structure.  As the name indicates, this is the main tropical greenhouse.

Around the corner is the Princess of Wales Memorial Conservatory, the next stop on our tour.  It houses the arid and semi-arid plants.  Stephen with a much larger selection of cacti than we saw at Oxford.

After the Diana Conservatory, we stopped for lunch under a huge oak tree.  Little did we know it is one of the few accidental hybrids of this particular type in existance.  

I'll be uploading the full-sized versions to snapfish over time, including all the ones I didn't resize for this narrative.  Drop me a line if you want me to send you the link to that album.