Eleven years after Burton completed The Palm House, he began work on a new building at Kew Gardens that would dwarf it. The Temperate House was twice the size, and so flamboyant that one politican complained to parliament that Kew risked becoming a “gaudy flower garden.” The Palm House at London’s Kew Gardens, completed in 1848, looks like a steamship plowing through a sea of green. The metaphor is apt because the explorers of that era would compete by sailing home from foreign travels with the most bizarre species they could find and bringing them to Kew. One highlight, for example, is the Madagascan suicide palm, which flowers once in 50 years then promptly expires. The Palm House’s oldest plant, an Encephalartos altensteinii palm, was picked This story is from Kinfolk Issue Twenty-Nine Buy Now Related Stories Design Fashion Issue 47 Hot Desk The many faces of a multifunctional workstation. Design Inside Looking Out A rewilding of interior design in the heart of Milan. Design Issue 44 An Unmovable Feast A place setting stitched for every season. Design Partnerships Together Again The return of the small gathering, in partnership with Fritz Hansen. Design Issue 42 Light Snack A luminous celebration of gelatin. Design Interiors Issue 42 Studio Tour: Fernando Caruncho Gardens sit between the natural and the artificial. George Upton meets the man mediating between the two.