Sunday, April 7, 2013

Too Kew: The Battle of Function Against Form - Part One

I know, I know.  It IS a LAB.  It's a research facility where SCIENCE happens.  (And the Millenium Seed Project is an enterprise that I value and RESPECT.)  BUT!!!!!

 Once upon a time,  Kew Gardens was a place where one came to commune with one's soul.  Or with one's Soul Mate.  To commune with the Sky and the Ground.

To Rhapsodize over Nature and Beauty in their endless subtle variety.

To rediscover the Ages.

Where it was o.k., even satisfactory, to be a little lonely.  And contemplative.  To imagine oneself a little adventurous.  To imagine oneself among the Great Discoverers.

a Great Romantic, or a Great Poet.

"This most excellent Canopy, the air, look you.  This Brave O'er-Hanging Firmament, this Majestical Roof"

...............fretted with Golden Fire...........(Shakespeare - love that line!)

until an OTHER Englishman

(not the Englishman who calls that lovely house, SYON HOUSE, across the way, "HOME")

newly disembarked from Chicago, his head-turned by garish Cowboy ways, came along and jacked up the entrance fees to breathtaking levels, installed bright seemingly meaningless red panels across a gentle green landscape, ordered in dumb Disneyland electric trolleys, filled in graceful empty spaces with too many trees, built an ugly gimmicky "Tree Walk" and childrens' play area and stuck plant labels everywhere.  IN MY KEW!!!!  All in the name of "safety"(?) and edu-tainment.

How stupid does someone think we must be that we cannot figure out that the helleborus x hybridus plonked in front of us HERE, is probably just the same as that we just identified six inches away THERE?  And six inches before that one?  And six inches before that?  Do you get my drift?

Could those wacky Victorians venturing out over the Caucasus mountains and Turkish steppes have enjoyed the moment of discovery and experienced gentle explosions of pleasure at unimagined beauty experienced them any less, because the names of the plants were not already clearly marked in Latin alongside the trickling streams of Nuristan?!!!!!!!

Just saying.  (And I will say more, if you want to come back for Part Two.)   That Function seems to be winning.

****If you, too are a lover of greenhouses, and haven't done so yet, perhaps you'd like to join the people who are campaigning to Save the Greenhouses of Auteuil in Paris, which the Roland Garros stadium are threatening to swallow up and eliminate.  Click here to join the international campaign to save them.  THX!


  1. funny you should mention kew. i never before made it over, not even last winter, although fully intended, but then i thought; hell, dark at 3 pm, no, can't do, yet.

    so, it's gonna have to wait, but i'll bear what you say here in mind.

    actually, on green houses, i bumped into the one at horniman's. nice surprise. too many school children at the time though...! ;)))

  2. Function seems to be winning? Seems it's the packaging that counts.

  3. Je manque cruellement de nature... alors merci pour cette belle ballade bucolique...! et j'en ai profiter pour relayer et signer la pétition pour les jolies serres d'auteuil... bonne journée

  4. Fabulous photos friend! Love that field of .... fresias?

    Yep... poetry,,, soul.. dreaming... all that is seriously important.. and there is plenty of scope for the science without confusing the two!