Another 'royal' institution I have joined is Kew gardens. It is similar to the Royal Institution in that it combines entertainment, education and serious scientific research. Although most people call this organisation Kew gardens, this is misleading. The organization runs no less than 23 facilities in the UK and many research operations overseas.
My main 'selfish' reason for joining was to gain free entry to the gardens. Kew is the largest and probably the most beautiful of these, consisting of a variety of greenhouses containing plants from various nations, park lands, a couple of museums, art galleries and some palaces and stately homes. It is huge.
There are also free shows of one kind or another most days. They vary from music and fireworks to the quirky little sideshow the English do so well.
The main benefit to mankind is the Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst place. This aims to store the seeds of plants facing extinction so that they will not be permanently lost should they die out in the wild. This is a low cost operation when we consider the potential benefit. A species can be saved for just a few pounds.
If you would like to see Kew for free, just contact me.
These photographs cannot convey the mad and jumbled nature of the place.
There is limited opportunity to participate because I am not a plantsman. I believe that membership helps to reduce my carbon footprint.
During Englands golden age, art, science politics were overlapping subjects. Rulers would demonstrate their power and wealth by building beautiful palaces and gardens. In this way the King could deter agerssion without making overt threats.