After stopping for a warm up inside the Palm House, this week we’re continuing on our stroll through few of Kew Gardens other indoor attractions: the Temperate House, the Waterlily House, and the Princess of Wales Conservatory. The landscape architects of Kew Gardens clearly understood the need for cover with the UK’s weather (it rains now and then) and each of these glass wonders is a great place to wait for a shower to pass by.
The Waterlily House
- Because it was built specifically for the six-foot in diameter giant Amazonian water lilies (another fad of the Victorian age), this greenhouse was built wide. In fact, when it was built in 1852, the Waterlily House was the widest greenhouse in the world.
- Unfortunately, the Victorians didn’t quite understand how to care for these botanic wonders and the Waterlily House had to become simply a tropical plant home in 1866. It wasn’t until 1991 that the lily pads were brought back (and have so far survived).
The Temperate House
- Built in 1859, the Temperate House provides space for trees, ferns, and other tropical plants from South Africa, Australasia, Asia, and the Americas.
- Growing conditions are obviously quite nice or Kew’s gardeners have very green thumbs (or both) because they were able to grow a Chilean wine-palm from seed in the Temperate House. It’s now over 16 meters tall. Eventually the tree will be too big for the greenhouse and will have to be cut down. But don’t worry, it’s replacement is growing beside it.
- The Temperate House also provides a home to a cycad that is no longer found in the wild. It’s the rarest tree kept in Kew Gardens.
The Princess of Wales Conservatory
- This series of ten greenhouses (each based around a type of plant or environment), is not named for Diana. It was built to honor Augusta who was Princess of Wales from 1736 to 1751 (her oldest son became George III). Augusta worked to expand and consolidate the grounds of Kew Gardens.
- However, Diana isn’t completely out of the Conservatory picture. She oversaw the opening of the greenhouse in 1987.
- Inside you can wander from the dry desert to the humid tropics and observe carnivorous plants, orchids, cacti, and even a few lizards.
Next week, we’ll actually get outside and take a wander through the grounds of Kew Gardens.
IN THE MOOD TO SHOP?
From now through 1 December 2015, feel free to use coupon code SHOPPING10 to take 10% off any purchase of $5 or more at my Bookstore & Gallery on Etsy.
I’ve recently added several new items including…
- Prints and greeting card gift packs of my latest colored pencil art “Red Car,”
- Simply Soft Cheese, my top-selling book on making cheese at home, and
- My Garden Journal, a handy guided journal I designed for the gardeners on your list (or for yourself).
TAMMIE PAINTER IS THE AUTHOR OF THE TRIALS OF HERCULES: BOOK ONE OF THE OSTERIA CHRONICLES AND AN ARTIST WHO DEDICATES HERSELF TO THE TEDIUM OF CREATING IMAGES WITH COLORED PENCIL. YOU CAN FIND HER WORK AT TAMMIE PAINTER’S BOOKSTORE & GALLERY.