High cheese comes to the land of high tea on Saturday.
When Boston's Rick Porcello throws the first pitch to the New York Yankees at Olympic Stadium in London, the national pastime of the onetime colony will try to plant itself in the mother country.
After looking at the cozy distance — 385 feet to center with a 16-foot wall — Yankees and Red Sox batters hope to run up some cricket-like scoring totals in the two-game series, perhaps even shattering the famous triangular light banks.
"Hopefully, we'll poke a couple out," Yankees slugger Aaron Judge said Friday, smiling after batting practice on a sunny afternoon.Read more on NewsOK.com
High cheese comes to the land of high tea on Saturday.
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — An American lawyer known for winning huge legal awards over deadly construction accidents plans to hold a news conference in Philadelphia on the 2017 apartment fire in London that killed 72 people.
The BBC has reported that more than 100 people plan to join a product liability lawsuit targeting U.S. companies that make products used at the complex.
It's not clear if lawyer Robert Mongeluzzi plans to announce he's filing such a case, but he is set to speak Tuesday about the Grenfell Tower fire.
Thursday marks the two-year anniversary of the fire and the usual deadline to seek damages under U.S. law.
Mongeluzzi has helped clients win judgments for a 2015 Amtrak train derailment and for a 2013 Salvation Army store collapse.
He declined to comment Monday on the case.
Read more on NewsOK.com
LONDON (AP) — President Donald Trump arrived in Britain on Monday for a largely ceremonial visit meant to strengthen ties between the two nations, but the trip was immediately at risk of being overshadowed by Brexit turmoil and a political feud with London's mayor.
Even before Air Force One touched down north of London, Trump unleashed a Twitter tirade against London Mayor Sadiq Khan, leader of the world city where Trump will stay for two nights while partaking in a state visit full of pomp and circumstance.
The move came after a newspaper column in which Khan said Trump did not deserve red-carpet treatment in Britain and was "one of the most egregious examples of a growing global threat" from the far-right to liberal democracy.
"@SadiqKhan, who by all accounts has done a terrible job as Mayor of London, has been foolishly "nasty" to the visiting President of the United States, by far the most important ally of the United Kingdom," Trump wrote just before landing.Read more on NewsOK.com
From the legendary Tower of Babel to the iconic Burj Khalifa, humans have always aspired to build to ever greater heights. Over the centuries, we have constructed towering edifices to celebrate our culture, promote our cities—or simply to show off.
The Shard: a tall order. (Davide D’Amico/Flickr, CC BY-SA)
Historically, tall structures were the preserve of great rulers, religions, and empires. For instance, the Great Pyramid of Giza—built to house the tomb of Pharaoh Khufu—once towered over 145 meters high. It was the tallest man-made structure for nearly 4,000 years, before being overtaken by the 160-meter-tall Lincoln Cathedral in the 14th century. Other edifices, such as Tibet’s Potala Palace (the traditional home of the Dalai Lama), or the monasteries of Athos were constructed atop mountains or rocky outcrops, to bring them even closer to the heavens.
Yet these grand historical efforts are dwarfed by the skyscrapers of the 20th and 21st centuries. London’s Shard looms at 310 meters tall at its fractured tip—but it’s made to look small by the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, which stands at more than 828 meters. And both these behemoths will be left in the shadows by the Kingdom Tower in Jeddah. Originally planned by architect Adrian Smith to reach 1,600 meters, the tower is now likely to reach one kilometer high, once it’s completed in 2020.
So how did we make this great leap upwards?
Ingredients for Success
We can trace our answer back to the 1880s, when the first generation of skyscrapers appeared in Chicago and New York. The booming insurance businesses of the mid-19th century were among the first enterprises to exploit the technological advancements, which made tall buildings possible.
Home Insurance building. (Library of Congress, Public Domain)
Constructed in the aftermath of the great fire of 1871, Chicago’s Home Insurance building—completed in 1884 by William Le Baron Jenney—is widely considered to be the first tall building of the industrial era, at 12 stories high.
Architects Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler first coined the term “tall office building” in 1896, drawing on the architectural precedent of Italy’s Renaissance palazzi. His definition denoted that the first two stories are given over to the entrance way and retail activity, with a service basement below, repeated storeys above and a cornice or attic storey to finish the building at the top. Vertical ducts unite the building with power, heat, and circulation. This specification still holds good today.
The American technological revolution of 1880 to 1890 saw a burst of creativity that produced a wave of new inventions that helped architects to build higher than ever before: Bessemer steel, formed into I-sections in the new rolling mills enabled taller and more flexible frame design than the cast iron of the previous era; the newly-patented sprinkler head allowed buildings to escape the strict, 23-meter height limit, which was imposed to control the risk of fire; and the patenting of AC electricity allowed elevators to be electrically powered and rise to ten or more stories.
Early tall buildings contained offices. The typewriter, telephone, and U.S. universal postal system also appeared in this decade, and they revolutionized office work and enabled administration to be concentrated in individual high-rise buildings within a city’s business district.
Changes in urban life also encouraged the switch to taller, higher-density facilities. Street trams, subways, and elevated rail links provided the means to deliver hundreds of workers to a single urban location, decades before the European motor car appeared on American streets and reshaped urban form away from the city grid.
Apart from a few high-rise mansion blocks around Central Park, New York, the terraced house reigned supreme in the crowded cities of the pre-motor car age, such as Paris, London, and Manhattan, and evolved to nine stories in ultra-dense Hong Kong.
Early office towers filled their city blocks entirely, with buildings enclosing a large light and air-well, as an squared U, O, or H shape. This permitted natural light and ventilation within the building, but didn’t provide any public spaces. Chicago imposed a height limit of 40 meters in 1893, but New York raced ahead with large and tall blocks. Many of these, such as the Singer, Woolworth, MetLife, and Chrysler buildings, tapered off with “campanile” towers, battling to be tallest in the world.
In 1915, following the completion of the 40-storey Equitable building on Broadway, there was such alarm at the darkening streets that New York introduced “zoning laws” that forced new buildings to step ziggurat-like as they rose, in order to bring daylight down to street level.
The Equitable Building, Manhattan. (Yottabytedev/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY)
This meant that while the base still filled the city block, the rest of the tower would rise centrally, stepping back every few stories, and it forced the service core to the building’s center, leading to the loss of the light-well and making mechanical ventilation and artificial lighting essential for human habitation. This was a radical change in the shape of tall buildings, and the second generation of skyscrapers.
As architectural historian Carol Willis would have it, “form follows finance“: the developers of early 20th century high rise office blocks would work out how to maximize the amount of usable floor-space in a city site, before asking an architect to put a wall around it. Such vast wall surfaces with conventional windows invited patterns of geometric decoration, and the ziggurat style came to be the most recognizable architectural symbol of the Art Deco movement.
Race to the top. Photograph of a workman on the framework of the Empire State Building in 1930. (Lewis Hine/National Archives and Records Administration, Public Domain)
The mania for profit-driven tall development got out of hand in the late 1920s, however, and culminated in 1931 with the Chrysler and the Empire State buildings. The oversupply of office buildings, the depression of the 1930s and World War II brought an end to the Art Deco boom. There were no more skyscrapers until the 1950s, when the post-war era summoned forth a third generation: the International Style, the buildings of darkened glass and steel-framed boxes, with air conditioning and plaza fronts that we see in so many of the world’s cities today.
The Great Pyramid of Giza. (Nina/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA) The Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. (Coolmanjackey/Wikimedia, CC BY-SA) The 1,000-year-old monasteries of Mount Athos, located on a peninsula east of Thessaloniki, in northern Greece, on Sept. 9, 2005. (Fotis Filargyropoulos/AFP/Getty Images) Torre di Pisa in Pisa, Italy. (Davide Ragusa/Unsplash.com) The Lincoln Cathedral in Lincoln, England, on Nov. 30, 2009. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images) Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France. (Noah Rosenfield/Unsplash.com) The Woolworth Building and surrounding buildings, New York City, c. 1913. (Library of Congress, Public Domain) The MetLife Building with Grand Central Terminal in the foreground, in New York City. (Jnn13/Wikimedia, CC BY-SA) Eiffel Tower, in Paris, France. (Louis Pellissier/Unsplash.com) The Empire State building in New York City. (Ben Dumond/Unsplash.com) Cube house in Rotterdam, Netherlands. (Tim Gouw/Unsplash.com) Financial District in Toronto, Canada. (Matthew Wiebe/Unsplash.com) Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Donaldytong/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA)
David Nicholson-Cole is an assistant professor in architecture at the University of Nottingham in the U.K. This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Jeremy Corbyn waves on stage after new is announced as the new leader of The Labour Party during the Labour Party Leadership Conference in London, Saturday, Sept.Read more on NewsOK.com
Jeremy Corbyn waves on stage after new is announced as the new leader of The Labour Party during the Labour Party Leadership Conference in London, Saturday, Sept.Read more on NewsOK.com
WDBJ news anchor Chris Hurst pauses as he is overcome with emotion while holding a photo album that was created by fellow reporter and girlfriend Alison Parker, in Roanoke, Va., Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. Vester Lee Flanagan opened fire during a live on-air interview for WDBJ, killing Parker and cameraman Adam Ward. (Erica Yoon/The Roanoke Times via AP)
People demonstrate in demand of Guatemalan President Otto Perez to step down over a corruption scandal, in Guatemala City on Aug. 27, 2015. Perez suffered a double setback Wednesday, after the country’s top prosecutor called for his resignation and his ex-vice president was maintained in jail for tax fraud. (Orlando Sierra/AFP/Getty Images)
Bedouin women take part in a protest against a plan to uproot the Umm Al-Hiran village, which is not recognized by the Israeli government, near the southern city of Beersheba in the Negev desert, on Aug. 27, 2015. In May Israel’s Supreme Court approved the removal of 750-1,000 Bedouin residents from the southern Negev village of Umm al-Hiran to enable the construction of a Jewish town. According to Human Rights Watch, the villagers say they were expelled from their land in 1948, when the state of Israel was established, and while they have been allowed to live there, Israel never recognized the village or approved a zoning plan for it. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP/Getty Images)
A migrants’ group stands at a collection point of the Hungarian police near the Hungarian village of Roszke, at the Hungarian-Serbian border on Aug. 27, 2015. As Hungary scrambles to ramp up defenses on its border with Serbia, refugees continued to surge into the country in record numbers, police figures confirmed. (Csaba Segesvari/AFP/Getty Images)
Student protesters Joshua Wong (C L) and Nathan Law (C R) stand outside the Wanchai police station in Hong Kong on Aug. 27, 2015. The students reported to police for investigation into their participation in the 2014 pro-democracy Occupy movement. (Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images)
Warragamba Dam spills water over the edge after reaching capacity on Aug. 27, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. Warragamba Dam, Sydney’s main reservoir, last spilled in June, 2013. (Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)
Citizens wearing raincoats drive electric motor bikes in the rain on Aug. 26, 2015 in Zhengzhou, Henan Province of China. South China’s Zhengzhou City encountered severe convective weather on Wednesday afternoon. (ChinaFotoPress/ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images)
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton leaves court at the conclusion of his hearing on his felony securities indictment, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015, in Fort Worth, Texas. Paxton pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges alleging that he defrauded investors before he became the state’s top lawyer, and his attorney Joe Kendall announced that he would no longer represent him. (Star-Telegram/Rodger Mallison via AP, Pool)
Lebanese riot policemen take a rest near the government building during a lull in anti-government protests over an ongoing trash collection crisis, in downtown Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. Beirut has been jolted by daily protests for the past week, including two massive demonstrations that turned violent over the weekend. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)
Students clash with the riot police during a demonstration against an education reform plan pushed by the government of President Michelle Bachelet, in Santiago, Chile, on Aug. 27, 2015. Critics say the reforms fall short of overhauling a highly unequal education system inherited from the 1973-1990 dictatorship of late ruler Augusto Pinochet. (Claudio Reyes/AFP/Getty Images)
Police clash with victims of toxic investments made by former Banco Espirito Santo (BES) now Novo Banco (New Bank) during a protest in front of the Novo Bank headquarters in Lisbon on Aug. 27, 2015. (PATRICIA DE Melo Moreira/AFP/Getty Images)
While jury still deliberate, former St. Paul’s School student Owen Labrie, left, leaves the Merrimack Superior Court at the end of day with security in tow Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015, in Concord, N.H. Labrie is charged with raping a 15-year-old freshman as part of Senior Salute, in which seniors try to romance and have intercourse with underclassmen before leaving the prestigious St. Paul’s School in Concord. (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter, Pool)
President Barack Obama is greeted by a woman during a tour of the Treme neighborhood Aug. 27, 2015, in New Orleans. President Obama visited New Orleans on Thursday to praise its people’s “extraordinary resilience,” 10 years after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the “Big Easy” and shattered Americans’ confidence in government. (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)
Colombian citizens cross the bordering Tachira River as they leave Venezuela with their belongings, arriving in Cucuta, Colombia, on Aug. 27, 2015. Hundreds of Colombians are fleeing Venezuela, opting to leave the country with their belongings rather than be deported empty-handed like more than 1,000 people sent home in an escalating border crisis. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the border between Tachira and the Colombian department of Norte de Santander closed last week in response to an attack by unidentified assailants on a military patrol, which wounded a civilian and three soldiers on an anti-smuggling operation. (Luis Acosta/AFP/Getty Images)
A masked kurdish militant holds a molotov cocktails in front of a barricade during clashes with Turkish police on Aug. 27,2015, in the Gazi district of Istanbul. Five people, including two children and a soldier, were killed in clashes between Kurdish militants and security forces in Turkey’s restive Kurdish-majority southeast on Aug. 27, 2015, local officials and the army said. (Ozan Kose/AFP/Getty Images)
Forensic officers stand in front of a truck inside which were found a large number of dead migrants on a motorway near Neusiedl am See, Austria, on Aug. 27, 2015. The vehicle, which contained between 20 and 50 bodies, was found on a parking strip off the highway in Burgenland state, police spokesman Hans Peter Doskozil said at a press conference with Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner. (Dieter Nagl/AFP/Getty Images)
Captain Ed Lloyd Owen links arms with Chelsea Pensioner Marjorie Cole as he completes his ‘Short Walk Home’ in aid of Walking With The Wounded on Aug. 27, 2015 in London, England. The walk from Cyprus to London has taken 5 months covering covering 11 Countries. The British Army Officer Captain has raised over 21,000 GBP for Walking for the Wounded. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
A Greek police officer gives orders to Syrian refugees as they wait to cross the border from Greece to Macedonia, in the border town of Idomeni , northern Greece, on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. The U.N.s refugee agency said it expects 3,000 people to cross Macedonia daily in the coming days. Greece has borne the brunt of a record number of refugees and migrants heading to Europe. (AP Photo/Santi Palacios)
Widows of retired Indian soldiers participate in a relay hunger strike in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015. Indian soldiers have been protesting in New Delhi for weeks demanding what they call the “One Rank One Pension” (OROP) scheme to be implemented by the government. (AP Photo/Saurabh Das)
Thai Department of National Parks (DNP) workers display pieces of ivory during a destruction of confiscated ivory exercise at the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation in Bangkok on Aug. 26, 2015. Thailand destroyed more than two tonnes of ivory—a victory for animal rights groups fighting against the trade in a country renowned for being a hub for illegal tusks. (Pornchai Kittiwongsakul/AFP/Getty Images)
People shout slogans and hold up placards reading “violation of the constitution” (red ones) and “scrap security bills” (blue ones), during a rally in Tokyo on Aug. 26, 2015 organized by lawyers against Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s controversial security bills which would expand the remit of the country’s armed forces. Several thousand of lawyers, scholars, students and citizens took part in the rally. Opponents of the controversial security bills, which passed through Japan’s powerful lower house of parliament in mid-July, say the bills will undermine 70 years of pacifism and could see Japanese troops fighting abroad for the first time since World War II. (Toru Yamanaka/AFP/Getty Images)
Singer Charlotte Church (C) takes part in a Greenpeace protest outside the Shell building on Aug. 26, 2015 in London, England. Greenpeace have been protesting against arctic drilling with an orchestra for some time outside the London headquarters of oil giant Shell. (Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)
American special forces soldiers advance as a chinook helicopter takes off during the “Swift Response” airborne training exercise in Hohenfels, southern Germany on Aug. 26, 2015. Some 5,000 soldiers from 11 NATO nations participate in simultaneous multinational airborne operations across Germany, Italy, Bulgaria and Romania. (Philipp Guelland/AFP/Getty Images)
Debris are seen following a rocket attack in the government-controlled Syrian central city of Homs on Aug. 26, 2015, which reportedly killed three people and injured 25. In four years of conflict between the Syrian regime, rebel, Islamist and Kurdish forces, a total of more than 240,000 people have been killed, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)
An inflatable cow stand roadside as dairy farmers walk along highway N-601on the third day of an action dubbed “White March” in defense of the dairy sector between the towns of Ceinos de Campos and Medina de Rioseco in on Aug. 26, 2015. Participants started in Leon and will make a dozen stops on their way to Madrid, marching 20 to 25 km each time, before a final protest in the capital outside the agricultre ministry on Sept 4. (Cesar Manso/AFP/Getty Images)
A Palestinian woman takes a selfie during a military parade organised by the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ armed wing, on Aug. 26, 2015, in Gaza City. (Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images)
Investigators look at the body of WDBJ-TV cameraman Adam Ward after he and reporter Alison Parker were fatally shot during an on-air interview, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2015, in Moneta, Va. Authorities identified the suspect as fellow journalist Vester Lee Flanagan II, who appeared on WDBJ-TV as Bryce Williams. Flanagan was fired from the station earlier this year. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Lebanese activists march towards the American University hospital in downtown Beirut on Aug. 26, 2015, in support of the protesters injured in clashes with police following demonstrations calling for a solution to weeks of uncollected rubbish and for the government’s resignation. Since August 22, people have gathered in central Beirut for demonstrations that began over a trash crisis but evolved into an outlet for deep-seated frustrations over government impotence. (Anwar Amro/AFP/Getty Images)
Members of Venezuelan National guard (background) and the Colombian Army (foreground) stand guard along the banks of the bordering Tachira river, as seen from Cucuta, Colombia, on Aug. 26, 2015. Hundreds of Colombians fled Venezuela Tuesday, opting to leave the country with their belongings rather than be deported empty-handed like more than 1,000 people sent home in an escalating border crisis. (Luis Acosta/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman dressed as Nicaraguan First Lady Rosario Murillo performs during a protest against the electoral system in Managua, on Aug. 26, 2015. (Inti Ocon/AFP/Getty Images)
Syrian migrants arrive on a ferry carrying about 2,500 migrants from the Greek islands to the main port of Piraeus on Aug. 26, 2015 in Athens, Greece. Greece has been overwhelmed this year by record numbers of migrants arriving on its eastern Aegean islands, with more than 160,000 arriving since January. (Milos Bicanski/Getty Images)
A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange during the afternoon of Aug. 26, 2015 in New York. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed nearly 620 points up, erasing some of the losses from earlier in the week. (Andrew Burton/Getty Images)
Protesters blocking a street are removed by police in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, Wednesday, Aug. 27, 2015. Hundreds blocked several streets to protest against corruption in the administration of President Juan Orlando Hernandez who is being accused of using public funds for his 2013 election campaign. (AP Photo/Fernando Antonio)
Supporters of Guinea’s exiled former junta chief Moussa Dadis Camara demonstrate in front of soldiers, on Aug. 26, 2015 at the airport in Conakry. A plane carrying Guinea’s exiled former junta chief Moussa Dadis Camara back home to Conakry, where he hopes to run for president in October, was diverted to Ghana on August 26, according to his political party. The situation angered scores of the former coup leader’s supporters waiting for him in Conakry, who blocked access to the airport’s parking and threw stones at police who fired tear gas to disperse them, according to an AFP reporter at the scene. (Cellou Binani/AFP/Getty Images)
A young penguin is weighed during a photocall at London Zoo on Aug. 26, 2015, to promote the zoo’s annual weigh-in event. With more than 17,000 animals to weigh, the exercise is carried out on a regular basis by zookeepers as a way of keeping track of every animals health and wellbeing. (Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images)
There’s a new startup ecosystem report demonstrating global rankings, with the top 3 spots all from America (Silicon Valley, LA, and New York). Tech company benchmarking firm, Compass Startup Genome, updated their 2012 list that ranks the areas of the world on how well they foster top tech talent, profitable businesses, and expand into foreign markets.
According to the report, Silicon Valley is pretty much the benchmark upon which the rest of the world compares itself. The Valley captured nearly half (47%) of startup company exists (acquisition, IPO) revenue in 2013 & 2014. London came in a distant second with 10% and LA is struggling to be noticed at 6%.
The good news for the tech industry is that the pie overall is growing at an impressive pace all over the globe.
“Silicon Valley is growing at a 45% rate over the last two years, whereas many other ecosystems further down the index are growing at much faster pace. London has quadrupled in the same timeframe, and Berlin has grown 20 times (due primarily to the two big IPOs of Rocket Internet and Zalando)”, concludes the report.
So, how do the startups compare on important metrics to Silicon Valley?
In the chart below, the Bay Area’s total GDP of tech companies is half-a-trillion dollars ($535B) compared to the North American Average of ($430B). The Valley has between 14–19 thousand active startups (!!) compared to the American metro average of 4K.
The Bay Area also has to pay a lot more per employee, averaging around $118K/year compared to $91k for the North American average. But The Bay Area has nearly twice the national average of founders who already have experience in fast-growing startups (35% vs. 17%).
That said, if ambitious tech folks don’t want to run the gauntlet in Silicon Valley, there are plenty of other fast growing areas in the world. Considering all factors (like talent pool and number of successful startups) Austin, the home of the tech conference mecca, SXSW, is new to the list and ranks 14th worldwide.
In other countries, Berlin jumped 6 spots from 2012, ranking number 9 in 2015. Amsterdam and Montreal bring additional international flair, coming in at 19 and 20th, respectively.
Readers can view the full report here.
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Entering Kew Gardens in London, the first sight that hit me was the iconic Victorian Palm House, looking like a half-buried, upside-down transparent Zeppelin. Made from glass and iron, it was designed by Decimus Burton and engineered by Richard Tanner to accommodate the exotic palms being collected and introduced to Europe in early Victorian times.
Pachystachys lutea “Lollipop Plant”
Walking inside the Palm House, the overwhelming tropical heat hit my lungs and instantly fogged up my camera lens. While exploring the botanical delights, I came across the enigmatic subtropical Lollipop Plant (Pachystachys lutea) It has brightly coloured orange leaves and dainty pale white petals sprouting out like tiny wings. The majority of the plants inside the Palm House are dug into beds to form a miniature tropical rainforest.
Walking along the balcony inside The Palm House
Today, the tallest palms that need the most room are located beneath the central dome. These include the peach palm (Bactris gasipaes), babassu (Attalea speciosa), queen palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana), and the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera).
Hibiscus storckii “Pink Form” from Fiji growing in The Palm House
Hibiscus storckii “Pink Form” stigma
The flower beds outside The Palm House
Victoria cruziana waterlilys in the Waterlily House at Kew Gardens
Throughout the day I kept coming back to the Waterlily House, built in 1852. It’s a warm, peaceful sanctuary filled with giant Victoria cruziana waterlily plants, named after Queen Victoria and originally from the Amazon. I was told these floating bright green discs could support a small child. Underneath the leaves of the V.cruziana there are protruding ribs, which trap air keeping them buoyant. The wonderful variety of sweet-smelling waterlily flowers on the surface of the 36-foot pond only last for 48 hours. They start out white then darken to pink and purple before disappearing underwater – short-lived but majestic life.
Nymphaea “Saint Louis Gold”
Nymphaea caerulea “Blue Egyptian Waterlily”
Accompanied by a plant hunting team in Western Australia, Carlos Magdalena – Kew Gardens’ resident tropical plant and waterlily expert – recently discovered a brand new species of waterlily. He said: “After years of wondering about this plant, it was a huge surprise to make this discovery. Finding the first population was a shock, but then we found creeks filled with just this species – it was breathtaking.”
As the discovery took place in crocodile-infested waters, Carlos said: “It was also extremely scary at times. Ultimately, if you are attacked by a crocodile there is nothing you can do but accept your fate as waterlily fertiliser!”
Even though an identical plant had previously been collected in the Northern Territory and subsequently grown at Kew, it had been thought that the lily must be a hybrid – a cross between two different plant varieties to acquire the attributes of each. However, this new location was thousands of kilometres from where the original lily had been discovered, and there was no trace of the suspected parents in the surrounding area. Carlos realised it was in fact a well-defined and separate species. “It is vitally important that we have a thorough knowledge of how many species there are out there,” said Carlos. “Without it, it is impossible to protect them. Where they are, how many, which threats they may face – all these factors must be established. Plant conservation of this nature is at the very heart of what Kew exists to do.”
Nymphaea “Kew’s Stowaway Blues”
Encircling the Palm House lies Kew Gardens’ famous Rose Garden. Here I watched a bee climbing petals to collect the sweet nectar and pollen from the vivacious rose. Kew Gardens is spread across a vast area. To explore the 132 hectares of landscaped gardens, I would need a number of visits. I look forward to going back.
Bee collecting Rose pollen
A couple strolls through Kew Gardens in London
Kew Gardens is open daily from 10 a.m., closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The Temperate House is closed until 2018 for restoration.