Kew Gardens

When I first arrived to London a French friend of mine, who was the biggest fan of the Uk, told me about this place. At the time, TimeOut was not online, and and she used to buy it weekly. She always knew where to go, what to do and all I (and the others) had to do was follow her lead.

It is funny that soon after I finish writing this today, the Islington Angel station will have a couple of people handing over this week’s TimeOut, free of charge to both commuters and passers by. A lot has changed in fourteen years but some how, the good stuff survives to see another day!

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The Waterlily House is a magical place. When I was very small I read some book for children where I found the most intriguing illustrations of plate like leafs floating on the water with gorgeous looking flowers on them. I asked mom what those were and dreamt of the day I’d see them with my own two eyes.

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This bijou glasshouse is a listed building… There are several listed buildings in Kew, and I’d say that given the power it has to make you travel in time, it is a very much deserved status. It is located opposite the Palm House, and its glazed structure encloses a wonderful pond completed in 1852 to showcase the giant Amazon waterlily .

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This is the Davies Alpine House, built in 2006 , it is surrounded by the most beautiful rock garden. The contrast with other areas at Kew is magnificent and the species to be found here most interesting.

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Visiting the Palm House, to me, is like being in a Victorian dream. If you have ever watched the gorgeous 2004 anime movie SteamBoy , this is as close as you will get to the gorgeous glass house at the Great Exhibition scenes… Ok, be warned that the scale is not the same but…

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Lake and Sacler Crossing … In 2006, the architect John Pawson created a beautiful walkway crossing, above the 1856 lake, made out of beautiful black granite. The walkway is postioned low and has a soft curve which emulates the lake’s banks.

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One of the most significant details is the treatment of the handrail. It is made out of bronze posts, which positioning creates a clever variety of illusions that constantly change. As one looks at the bridge from afar, it appears to be solid, and from within, it appears almost invisible.

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Of course, one cannot forget the Japanese gardens which incluse this Minka … If I have to be honest, they are not as Japanese as they are an interpretation of Japan, but never the less provide a wonderful contrast to the rest of the gardens and a great journey to one’s imagination.

Photography by Cristina Lanz-Azcarate

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