Glasgow Botanic Gardens
by Fred Lahache
Fred Lahache is a self-taught photographer based in Paris. After his first solo exhibition at Galerie Madé in 2013, Fred was featured in Pik magazine, Synonym Journal and various blogs. He now contributes to Freunde von Freunden and Brownbook Magazine. His work can be found at www.fredlahache.com.
“The first thing you notice is the absence of noise, a peaceful and appreciated silence. You realise something has changed as you enter Kibble Palace - the main glasshouse of the Glasgow Botanic Gardens. Perhaps you will identify that sensation straight away or maybe it will creep up on you but for certain in this space and surrounded by tree ferns you will feel removed from the present. Here in this elegant and delicate Victorian structure, amongst the beautiful, often rare and protected plants, it is hard not to be in awe of the diversity and grandeur of the flora gathered here. The Gardens exude a romantic feel, as though nothing since the end of the 19th century seems to have changed. You can barely hear the sounds of the traffic outside and the tropical heat under a gloomy Scottish sky transports you. People come here to relax their mind...
The Botanic Gardens were founded in 1817 by Thomas Hopkirk, a Glaswegian botanist with the support of local dignitaries and the University Of Glasgow. Nature inspired the delicate details that are found all over the glasshouses; marble statues, thin metal columns and soft curves of the dome all perhaps hint at the arrival of Art Nouveau a few years later with its organic forms. The Palace in its final version dates from 1873 and was named after its designer, John Kibble. The original architects of "The Kibble Crystal Art Palace", a former private conservatory, are John Boucher and James Cousland. Kibble was described as an entrepreneur, engineer and an eccentric...He actually had the whole structure dismantled and transported by barge from its original location at Coulport to the Botanic Gardens. He enhanced it by adding the large circular dome (150ft in diameter) and created the impressive front elevation with the extension of the transepts.
The light that filters through the glasshouse and its white metallic structure, seem to saturate all the shades of green. You look at them a bit longer and listen to sounds of water running and dropping here and there, before the fast pace of the present world pulls you back.”