My name is Florin and I'm an undeclared botanist :) In an alternate life, I would have been a forest ranger, horticulturist or tree-hugger.
Today I've visited the Kew Botanical Gardens, one of the largest if not most impressive in the world.
Situated on a former riverbed of the Thames, the gardens are completely flat and have a soil layer of about half a meter at best. Given some of the magnificent trees, hundreds of years old, one wouldn't notice that.
Wondering if I did some digging around to find this? I just happen to have been on 2 wonderful guided tours. One about the many ways in which pollination occurs, an another introductory tour for first time visitors. Now either I haven't been on an English speaking tour in a long time or they were really well done, so much so as I feel the urge to tell you about it :)
As a photographer, I found out that flowers present themselves very differently in infrared and that insects may not necessarily perceive them as we do. The fine ridges and indentations in some petals provide contrast and detail that insects find appealing. Unlike trees, who have the wind, flowers need to impress and reward these creatures in order to multiply.
Some insects try to cheat and get straight to the nectar without the hard work of carrying pollen but flower species such as http://www.thepoisongarden.co.uk/atoz/digitalis.htm prevent bees from piercing the pollen sack, forcing them to enter the flower and swipe the pollen away.
Carnivorous plants aren't just some mean fuckers, they have evolved this way because of the bad lands they grow on, which provide insufficient nutrients.
Some plants, such as the cocoa tree, flower on the stem, and get pollinated by crawling insects rather than flying, because they lay low in the thick tropical forests.
The garden complex was built by king George the IIIrd, supposedly a bipolar chap whom people thought was crazy and force-fed various kinds of medicine, including some that made his pee purple.
Much of the park's wildlife is spontaneous and lives in relative harmony with the surrounding plants.
Less so can be said above the planes that pass every 5min on their way to heathrow.