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Pictures of Kew Royal Botanical Gardens

a Garden or Park in the town of Kew, in the county of Greater London

About Kew Royal Botanical Gardens

For over two hundred and fifty years, the gardens at Kew have been the dream and vision of talented gardeners, and the inspiration for generations of painters. As early as 1790, the artist Franz Bauer was producing drawings and spectacular paintings of Kew's delicate flowers and plants. Other artists to focus on Kew have been the talented Margaret Meen, Walter Hood Fitch, the Victorian artist Marianne North and 20th-century artist Margaret Mee who was also a highly respected, well travelled conservationist.

The first nine acres of gardens were laid out by Princess Augusta, mother of George III whose family home was the great palace set at the heart of Kew. Close by is the romantic, fairy tale thatched cottage built for Queen Charlotte, which the family used as a summer-house. The huge success of the gardens is largely owed to Sir Joseph Banks (1743-1820), explorer and botanist who was a close friend of the king and who worked with head gardener William Aiton to lay the basis for the superb collection that now exists. The gardens eventually came into public ownership in 1841, fortunately this did not lessen Royal ties, Queen Victoria gifted Queen Charlotte's cottage to Kew, and the gardens have continued to enjoy the patronage of Royalty ever since.

Sir William Chambers (1723-1796) who had travelled extensively in the Orient returned to London in 1755 when he became drawing tutor to the Prince of Wales. He later became architect of the King's works and during 1757-1763 he designed the Orangery and most of the small Classical temples at Kew. The Chinese Pagoda, surely the most dramatic of all Kew's buildings is the work of Chambers, it stands 10 storey's high and reaches 163 ft skywards. Decimus Burton was responsible for the graceful lines of the Palm House, which was considered by many to be the forerunner of Crystal Palace. Interestingly, the iron-work for the building was constructed by Richard Turner at his works in Dublin. Other buildings include The Princess of Wales Conservatory, where because of its range of climatic zones, you are able to view a range of plants from both the Amazon and the Sahara. There is a wonderful marine display in The Waterlily House, whilst in the Temperate House you can see a massive collection of sub-tropical plants.

As well as distinctive buildings, statues and follies there are fountains and ponds scattered across the gardens adding a silken watery lustre to a vast extravaganza of rare blooms, plants and trees of extraordinary beauty. The sheer scale of Kew is simply overwhelming, in every house and round every corner comes a fresh source of delight. The colourful flower borders of the herbaceous section are magnificent, these are in sharp contrast with delicate alpines growing amongst sandstone outcrops, and beside the stream of the Rock Garden. Richly wooded areas offer a quiet retreat.

Kew Royal Botanical Gardens is renowned world wide for its scientific and conservation work in the field of saving threatened species for posterity. When you think of 300 acres involving thousands of plants, flowers and trees which necessitate a staff of over 150 gardeners, you realise just what a mammoth task the running of Kew is. It is a rare and beautiful place and we are fortunate to have young men and women dedicated to keeping the dream and vision of Kew alive.

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