The Bogtrotter

Kew Glasshouses – gardens for all seasons

by on Feb.20, 2009, under Britain, English Gardens

The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew are perhaps the most famous gardens in the country. It’s global importance is recognised by the fact that it has been a UNESCO heritage site since 2003. But while many people visit gardens in the summer – most don’t realise just how much Kew has to offer all year round.

Temperate House at Kew

Temperate House at Kew

I visited there in December and had a great day out. Whilst most of the outside flower beds are fairly bare, the historic glass houses offer up a series of delights for any garden enthusiast. There’s no better feeling on a cold winters day than walking into the misty tropical Palm House and being enveloped by the humid heat. The Palm House aims to recreate Tropical rainforest conditions, and the central trancept contains the tallest palms which are allowed to grow to their full height.

One of my favourite things to do at Kew is to climb up onto the walkways high up in the glass houses. In the Temperate House (the largest Glass house at Kew) you can look down on the world’s largest indoor plant – the Chilean wine-palm (Jubaea chilensis) which rises to over 16 metres tall. Being up in the rafters is a unique experience and gives you a completely different perspective on the plants and trees below.

Orchid in the Glasshouse

Orchid in the Glasshouse

The futuristic Princess of Wales conservatory has probably the most eclectic mix of plants, set in ten distinct climate-controlled zones. Plants include a magnificent range of Cactii in the Dry Tropics zone through to dripping wet epiphytic plants perched on tree trunks in the cloud forest zone. There are also some stunning Orchids in full flower, and don’t miss the Giant Water Lillies in the Wet Tropics zone. And there is even a collection of carnivorous plants to please kids of all ages.

So you don’t have to wait for spring to head out for a garden visit – with Kew’s glasshouses you really do have gardens for all seasons.

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