Kew branches out

Sun, May 25, 2008

Trees, Kew Gardens

The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew is THE place to visit in London if you want to see the world’s largest collection of 40,000 plants.

I was at Kew yesterday to witness the opening of the new Rhizotron and Xstrata Treetop Walkway which adds new meaning to the expression – a bird’s eye view!

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Balancing some 18 metres above ground level, this 656ft walkway cost £3m and has been constructed in rusted corten steel to be a permananet feature of the gardens. The 5ft-wide walkway is held up on slender struts intended to resemble prehistoric trees. The handrails are fashioned from sweet chestnuts and red oaks that fell in the February storms.

The Kew Gardens web-site hails this as the most compelling tree-top experience in the UK. For a virtual tour visit http://apps.kew.org/trees

I spent a wonderful hour wandering along the walkway as if I was in the trees themselves. It was a very windy day which made the structure move slightly but this added to the realism as I snaked through the treetops of chestnuts planted by Lancelot “Capability” Brown, the landscape gardener, in the 18th century.

Jill Kowal, the assistant project manager for the walkway wants ” to bring people closer to the wonders of trees in a very subtle way.”.

Mission accomplished with a sense of awe and contemplation to be sharing the same space as these magnificent trees. It helped me realise how they play host to hundreds of species of animals and insects and how their leaves are vital in the fight against climate change.

This post was written by:

- who has written 866 posts on My Climate Change Garden.

I am not an experienced gardener - more of an enthusiastic amateur who learns by trial and error and is keen to "manage" the effects of the weather on my garden. Writing this blog is my passion and I hope that it will continue to grow, allowing global gardeners to communicate about the effects of climate change on our plants and the future of our gardens.

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