Saturday, 7 February 2009

Saturday Photo: Inspired by Kew

Last Saturday's photo was the first in a series featuring green houses in botanical gardens--a good way to think positive thoughts in the middle of winter. This week's picture is of one inspired by the great glass houses at Kew: the Enid A. Haupt Conservtory at the New York Botanical Garden. The picture was taken in summer from the courtyard outside, but it gives a sense of the lovely ironwork and detail of the great glass houses of the 19th century.

The New York garden owes more than the design of its conservatory to Kew, though. It began in 1888 as a project of Nathaniel Lord Britton and his wife Elizabeth, a well-heeled couple of New Yorkers who also were passionate botanists. On a belated honeymoon trip to England, she is reported to have exclaimed, "Oh, why can't we have a garden just like that!" after a visit to Kew. While many young women have made the same wish, no other was able to make it come true.

The Haupt Conservatory--named in honour of the philanthropist who paid for a complete makeover near the end of the 20th century--was opened in June 1900 a few years after the botanical garden came into existence.

To read more about this garden and others, check out my Recreating Eden: A Natural History of Botanical Gardens.


lagatta à montréal said...

Well, I certainly hope you were out walking today. Wasn't there the most beautiful light?

I have a lot of work to get done and problems with my server, but did manage to get out to Jean-Talon Market and up to Jarry Park. I wish Jarry Park, or something nearby, had such beautiful greenhouses. Trying to think if any of that vintage and class exist in Montréal - perhaps in Westmount, near the City Hall?

Probably too hopefully, my lovely old Raleigh is at the clinic, awaiting a tune-up.

Mary Soderstrom said...

The greenhouse at Westmount Library dates from late 19th, early 20th century, and I'll post a photo of it sometime soon. It's a delight to visit, and was a destination for winter afternoon expeditions when my kids were young. First a stop to borrow some books (before Outremont and Montreal improved their libraries a Westmount Library membership--
$25 a year at the time--was well worth it) and then a walk around to check out the huge gold fish and smell the plants.

Nice today too.