Monday, August 02, 2004

Kew -- Part deux

I was in London over the weekend for the wedding of a young friend, where I met up with Tom. Not much time to visit or revisit the many places and things associated with the history of science, but we did manage to squeeze in a morning at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.

The Gardens began hundreds of years ago as a collaboration between the British royal family and a long train of brilliant horticulturists, architects, landscape architects, and scientists.

Sir Joseph Banks, who circumnavigated the world with Captain James Cook in 1768-71, established Kew as a definitive repository of the world's plants. By the early 1800s, virtually no ship left any port of Britain's far-flung and growing empire without seeds or plants for Kew collections.

To visit Kew and its gleaming glass conservatories is to enjoy in a matter of hours an empire of greenery that knows no boundaries.