Friday, 30 September 2011

Phew Kew



I was in Kew Gardens yesterday, almost enjoying the heat of the Indian Summer that has suddenly arrived. I partook of refreshment (tea, egg and cress sandwiches and a bottle of Fentiman's Ginger Beer) under the rustling leaves of the carefully considered pergolas outside the Pavilion Restaurant. I could have been in a Paris park. Round the corner is Decimus Burton's Temperate House that was once the largest plant house in the world. It's still the biggest surviving Victorian glass structure anywhere. Started in 1859, the government allocated £10,000 but four years later the Treasury got cold feet and brought construction to a halt. It took another 35 years for it to be finally completed. I love glasshouses, and this one needs a helping hand because it's been another 35 years since the last restoration. Find out more here.

5 comments:

Philip Wilkinson said...

Lovely photographs. They remind me that I must revisit Kew and admire the glasshouses - and the plants - and consider the pergolas, carefully...

Sue said...

Flying into Heathrow from Germany, I often see these and the whole of Kew Gardens from the air - it's a great view.

Wartime Housewife said...

It's donkeys' since I've been to Kew and I keep meaning to make a weekend of it; one day rummaging in the National Archives and one day wafting around the glasshouses. You've inspired me to get my finger out.

Hels said...

You noted that Kew Garden's temperate house was once the largest plant house in the world. I am not sooooo excited by that, but I AM delighted that it is still the biggest surviving Victorian glass structure anywhere. It was so influential that I have had fun tracing the architectural impact on later buildings.

columnist said...

It is a very long time ago that I visited Kew, and I enjoyed it very well, as much for the architectural versus the horticultural experience. The only quibble I have is that the noise from nearby Heathrow is a crying shame! Much more sensible to move that wartime edifice to the Channel, and to give Kew goers and Londonders peace and quiet. My visit to the nether reaches of the British Isles did not allow for such an extended enjoyment of the Indian summer. It was almost like an Indian afternoon actually.