LONDON’S ROMANCE

KEW GARDENS IS JUST AS MUCH A BEAUTIFUL BOTANICAL SHOWCASE AS IT IS A STALWART OF SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY. AND LIKE NATURE ITSELF, IT’S EVER-EVOLVING邱園僅不 是瑰麗迷人的植物大觀園,亦是科學新知的翹楚,更與大自然一樣不斷進化,生生不息

SilkRoad - - CONTENTS 目錄 - 邱園植物園林遍植了14,000棵樹撰文WORDS MELISSA TWIGG

Kew Gardens is the quintessential English garden. Now, it has a new jewel

浪漫英倫

典型英式花園邱園新增了一顆掌上明珠

Garden varieties Kew Gardens’ Arboretum is home to 14,000 trees

ROYAL WEDDINGS IN the spring sunshine; Hyde Park under the first snow of winter; Hugh Grant looking diffident. The English might not have a reputation for being the most emotional people on earth, but when London does romance, it does it beautifully. And as Prince Harry’s ancestors would no doubt agree, few places in the British capital feel quite as magical as Kew Gardens.

A mixture of wild, floral abandon and meticulous planning, these vast west London gardens are filled with extraordinary trees – many of which were brought as saplings from as far afield as Madagascar, China, Peru and South Africa. Nestling below them are very English banks of foxgloves, roses and violets.

There are weeping willows drifting over lakes covered in Asian waterlilies, walled gardens overflowing with pastelcoloured flowers from South America, and tree-lined pathways leading to woods drunk on wild violets. Dotted everywhere are UNESCO-preserved buildings filled with hothouse flowers and pretty cafes.

And there is now more reason to go, as the jewel in Kew’s crown has recently reopened after a serious makeover. The breathtakingly beautiful Temperate House has had a £41 million (HK$413 million) refurbishment and has regained its place as one of the most extraordinary buildings in London.

Designed by Decimus Burton in 1860, it has been the largest glasshouse in the world since its construction. Walking inside, it is difficult to know what to marvel at first – the imposing Victorian structure or the other-worldly plants that reach precariously towards the glass roof.

The refurbishment took five years, with 10,000 plants uprooted and replanted, 15,000 panes of glass replaced and 69,000 sections of metal, stone and timber repaired. There was enough scaffolding to stretch from Hong Kong to Macau three times over and more than 1,000 people working on the project. Light now floods into the glasshouse, partly because the tallest plants, which were brushing the ridge of the roof, have been pruned or replaced with shorter specimens.

Several of the plants in here are part of international conservation projects to preserve or reintroduce them in the wild. One is the South African cycad Encephalartos woodii, also known as the ‘loneliest tree in the world’. A survivor from the time of the dinosaurs, it is now extinct in the wild, and only this male specimen – a clone of the

春日陽光下的皇室婚禮、初雪的海德公園,以至荷李活演員Hugh Grant的情聖形象;英國人或許並非世界公認最感情豐富的民族,但當倫敦要浪漫起來時,亦可非常動人。相信即使是哈里王子的祖先亦不會質疑,在首都之內,難有其他地方及得上魅力懾人的邱園。

這個花園位處倫敦,西部 佔地極廣,既有經悉心修葺的花圃,亦有生盎的趣 然野花,更這裡 遍植了珍稀樹木,當中不乏由搜羅自世界各地的樹苗生長而成,產地遠至馬達加斯加、中國、秘魯和南非,而樹下則是英國本土植物的世界,包括毛地黃、玫瑰和紫羅蘭等,爭妍鬥麗。

在亞洲睡蓮滿佈的泊,湖 上 垂柳隨風搖曳;石牆圍繞的花園裡,來自南美洲的粉色花卉正開得燦;爛 還有樹蔭夾道的小徑,則通往野生紫羅蘭盛開的。叢林 此外,園內有不少聯合國教科文組織保育的建築點綴其中,建築內是培植花卉的溫室和雅致的咖啡館,眼前盡是詩情畫意。

現在我們又有多一個理由造訪邱園。被視為園中瑰寶的溫帶植物,室 經過耗資4,100萬英鎊( 4.13億港元)的徹底翻新後,於近日重新開幕,再度躋身倫敦教最人驚艷的建築之一。

溫帶植物室由英國建築師Decimus Burton於1860年設計,自建造以來一直是全球規模最大的溫室。走進室內,不論

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