Friday, August 31, 2012

Kew Gardens

Kenz has returned to Knoxville for September. We'll both be in town for my sister's wedding, but I've stayed in London a bit longer in order to finish up some pending work I have locally.

Before she left, however, we went to Kew Gardens. Kenz wanted to see David Nash's exhibit being featured there. I wasn't too thrilled to go, but that was because I had no idea what Kew Gardens was. Turns out it's a massive piece of property (you can read more about it in the link) with tons of trees, flowers, and greenhouses. And it's about one hundred fifty years old.

The Palm House

Lillypad Greenhouse

This tree is 16 years older than America. 

Part of David Nash's exhibition.
I was standing next to an 8-year-old boy, looking at these three Eucalyptus stumps (pictured above). I heard him say to his mom, unimpressed, "This isn't art. It's just three big logs that people found." We made eye contact. I smiled and nodded, knowingly. I then nervously checked to see if Kenz had seen me confirm the young man's critique.

In the middle of the gardens is a treetop walkway. It's about 60 feet in the air, I guess. I can't really judge measurements well. You could tell me it was as short as 50 feet or as tall as 100 feet and I'd believe you. Either way, the walkway is made out of grated metal that you can see through, which means when you look down, you can see all the way down. I was shivering just walking up the stairs. Kenz was having a blast, messing with her nervous acrophobic husband. The walkway would sway in the wind, the metal under our feet would bend and make noise at the circular 'viewing' spots. She would giggle and poke at me in those moments, but I had nowhere to go. There was no way I was going to run, and I was holding on to the rails the whole time. Despite being an adult, having fully functional hands, and holding on to the rails, I was still scared to take out my phone to take some pictures - I was scared I'd drop it off the ledge. It's the kind of fear that has you think that if you can drop the phone at any moment, it means you can fall at any moment. It's hard to explain but paralyzing all the same.

Part of the Nash exhibit is a 'Tree Quarry', where they've cut an old, dead oak tree down. They're using the remnants to make 'art' out in the open. They've been working there for over a year now. Despite not quite buying into the art itself, it was neat to look at the work in progress.

There are a few areas of Kew that have themes. Some of the greenhouses are dedicated to plants from different climates or continents. We finished the day walking around the Japan section of Kew, passing a pagoda on our way out.

The geese had no fear

More David Nash

You can see the nervousness on my face (and the schadenfreude on McKenzie's)
All in all, Kew Gardens is a fun trip to make. It's definitely worth the time for anyone that comes to visit - especially if the weather is good. We were walking around, thinking that Kew may not be on the top of the list in some tourist's book, but that it'll be high on our list of suggestions for anyone that comes to the city.


Random pictures with little explanation below:

We went to see Owen's band play again this past week. He got heckled/pressured into taking his shirt off for the encore.

It got 'hot' in there

He gets tired after gigs

We had severe storms last Saturday. The three of us ate pizza and watched a movie inside.

This guy's helmet lights up

This is how the cool kids dress these days


Our tube station is falling apart. Nobody likes Elephant & Castle.

I FaceTime'd with the Ruckers again; Nancy got a sunburn on her chin

Nance & Tina on Ocracoke!

Owen in his favorite hoodie. Bill Hicks.

Sorry this post came so late in the day! I'll be here for 1.5 more weeks; I expect to post next Friday as well. The last two weeks in September will be spent in Knoxville, TN, however, so after next week I won't post again until the first week in October.

You've made it to the end! Have a good weekend!