73. Day Nine in England: Kew Gardens (Royal Botanic Gardens)

I’ve always wanted to go to the Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew Gardens)! So that’s what we are doing this very day. Picnics packed, route planned, here we go!

Tennis at Wimbledon was actually happening this day. I sent this to my tennis-loving sister-in-law to taunt her.

Guess who came to lunch. This magpie! Also, the Eurasian green woodpecker nearby. Kew Gardens is lovely but for the jumbo jets flying quite low overhead every 90 seconds. I’m not exaggerating. The sound from one has barely died out before the next one approaches. You can hear it in the video. Most are flying pretty low, so it is hard to ignore.


Not a bird.
Also not a bird.
A bird!!
View from the Treetop Walkway.
Art by the Treetop Walkway.
Nice bit of organic steampunkery.
Just some iridescent purple berries.
We shan’t throw stones.

British Air pretty much runs Heathrow. They managed to get plum roles in the management of Kew Gardens, apparently, so there have been no voices raised to object to increased flights over the Gardens. I read of so much joy when flights were canceled in 2020! But great unhappiness again, as the flights are relentless over the Gardens, but worse, over the entire (very pricey) neighborhood.

Art and sound installation Shooting at Hunger.

The following Candy Land photos are from a special installation by the Australian artist Tanya Schultz, under the name Pip and Pop. The piece is called When Flowers Dream. Delicious! I expected to see Princess Bubblegum pop out at any second.

A still from the video.

Further exhibit in this building was an amazing collection of botanical watercolors. The detail is breathtaking. These were my favorites.

We were sorry to *just* miss this greenhouse with the largest lily pads in the world!
Strutting gallinule.

One of my favorite things at the Gardens was this series of sculptures of the Queen’s Beasts. I captured all ten, achievement unlocked! They’re so cute with their chests all puffed out.

The Falcon of the Plantagenets: The falcon was first used by Edward III of the House of Plantagenet as his badge. It descended to Edward IV, who took it as his personal badge, the falcon standing within an open fetterlock. Originally closed, the slightly open fetterlock is supposed to refer to the struggle Edward IV had to obtain the throne — “he forced the lock and won the throne.”
The Black Bull of Clarence: The Black Bull of Clarence descended to the Queen through Edward IV. The shield shows the Royal Arms as they were borne by Edward IV and his brother Richard III as well as all the Sovereigns of the Houses of Lancaster and Tudor.
The Griffin of Edward III: The griffin of Edward III Queen’s Beast is an ancient mythical beast. It was considered a beneficent creature, signifying courage and strength combined with guardianship, vigilance, swiftness and keen vision. It was closely associated with Edward III who engraved it on his private seal. The shield shows the Round Tower of Windsor Castle (where Edward III was born) with the Royal Standard flying from the turret, enclosed by two branches of oak surmounted by the royal crown.
The Griffin and David
The Unicorn of Scotland: From the end of the 16th century, two unicorns were adopted as the supporters of the Scottish Royal Arms. In 1603 the crown of England passed to James VI of Scotland, who then became James I of England. He took as supporters of his royal arms a crowned lion of England and one of his Scottish unicorns. The unicorn holds a shield showing the royal arms of Scotland, a lion rampant within a double tressure flory-counter-flory.
The White Lion of Mortimer: The White Lion of Mortimer descends to the Queen through Edward IV, from Anne de Mortimer. The shield shows a white rose encircled by a golden sun, known heraldically as a ‘white rose en soleil’ which is really a combination of two distinct badges. Both of these appear on the Great Seals of Edward IV and Richard III, and were used by George VI when Duke of York. Unlike the Lion of England, this beast is uncrowned.
The Lion of England: The Lion of England is the crowned golden lion of England, which has been one of the supporters of the Royal Arms since the reign of Edward IV (1461–1483). It supports a shield showing the Arms of the United Kingdom as they have been since Queen Victoria’s accession in 1837. In the first and last quarters of the shield are the arms of the House of Plantagenet (the “Lions of England”, technically in heraldic language “Leopards of England”), taken from the arms of King Richard I (1157–1199), “The Lionheart”. The lion and tressure (armorial border) of Scotland appear in the second, and the Harp of Ireland is in the third.
The White Horse of Hanover: The White Horse of Hanover was introduced into the Royal Arms in 1714 when the crown of Great Britain passed to the Elector George of Hanover. This grandson of Elizabeth Stuart, sister of King Charles I, became George I, King of Great Britain and Ireland. The shield shows the leopards of England and the lion of Scotland in the first quarter, the fleur-de-lis of France in the second (brought into the royal arms of England by King Edward II) and the Irish harp in the third quarter. The fourth quarter shows the arms of Hanover.
The Red Dragon of Wales: The red dragon (WelshY Ddraig Goch) is an ancient Welsh symbol, and a badge used by Owen Tudor. His grandson, Henry VII, took it as a token of his supposed descent from Cadwaladr, the last of the line of Maelgwn. The beast holds a shield bearing a lion in each quarter; this was the coat of arms of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, the last native Prince of Wales. Sorry I don’t have a full photo of this guy.
The Yale of Beaufort: The Yale was a mythical beast, supposedly white and covered with gold spots and able to swivel each of its horns independently. It descends to the Queen through King Henry VII, who inherited it from his mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort. The shield shows a portcullis surmounted by a royal crown. The portcullis (uncrowned) was a Beaufort badge, but was used both crowned and uncrowned by Henry VII.
The White Greyhound of Richmond: The White Greyhound of Richmond was a badge of John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, Earl of Richmond, 3rd son of King Edward III. It was also used by his son King Henry IV and especially by King Henry VII. The Tudor double rose can be seen on the shield, one rose within another surmounted by a crown. It symbolizes the union of the two cadet houses of Plantagenet – the House of York and the House of Lancaster.

A fabulous day of wandering about aimlessly with purpose in the heat! I would always recommend a visit here, but jeez, those planes! Oh well, birds gotta fly, y’know!

10 July 2022


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