by Lee Nelson
There are three major water features in Kew Gardens-Palm House Pond, The Lake and Waterlily Pond. In addition the River Thames—which defines the western boarder of Kew Gardens—is visible from several locations.
Palm House Pond
The Palm House Pond—a remnant of Kew's original lake which had at one time been edged with several follies and even had a wooden bridge to a central island before being partially filled in to provide more arable land for King George III's garden—was enlarged again by Decimus Burton in the 1860's to reflect the entire length of the Palm House and to serve as a garden water feature.
In addition to its year-round reflective beauty the Palm House Pond is occasionally pressed into service to, for instance display, a floating art project or assist in demonstrating cranberry harvesting techniques in New England at the annual Kew Harvest Festival.
Always inspirational the pond and surrounding gardens have served as model for many artists including Camille Pissaro in a painting circa approximately 1892.
The sculpture in the center of Palm House Pond is of Hercules wrestling the river-god Achelous.
The Plants & People Exhibition is directly across the pond from the Palm House.
The five acre (two hectare) Lake at Kew Gardens is the second artificial lake at Kew. The first was reduced in size to provide additional arable land for King George III's garden and laterbecame the Palm House Pond.
The Lake was formed by extending the gravel pits which had been excavated for building the Temperate House foundation. Commissioned by Kew Director, Sir William Jackson Hooker the lake was created by Lancelot 'Capability' Brown in the late 1840s.
Sackler Crossing, by London-based architect John Pawson, opened in 2006.
The bridge was designed to emulate the curves of the lake it crosses and the vertical surrounding trees it is made of black granite slabs and bronze balustrades which vary in perception depending on the angle of view. The tops of the balustrades are formed to fit comfortably in your hand.
A small Waterlily Pond along Cedar Vista at the edge of the Woodland Glade sports flowering plants including water lilies and irises.
The Woodland Glade features conifers including giant redwoods. Benches are provided for peaceful contemplation of aquatic life.
Benches such as these near the western end of the Syon Vista provide a place to rest and enjoy the view of the River Thames just outside the garden.
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Website and all photos copyright © 2001–2013 Lee W. Nelson