A Grand Day out at Kew Gardens. : The Alpine House into the Palms House..
Following on from my last Kew post, after I left the Princess of Wales Conservatory, you find yourself at the start of the rock garden with Alpine Plants and the fairly new Davies Alpine House, which is the latest addition to Kew’s glasshouses. It opened in 2006, the first new glasshouse to be commissioned for two decades.
I was surprised to find not many Alpine Plants showing well though out the rock garden, so I spent most of my time in the Alpine House.
“Although the glasshouse is only 16 metres (50 feet) long, its roof reaches ten metres (33 feet) high. This creates a stack effect that draws in cool air through permanent openings on either side and releases warm air through vents in the roof. Meanwhile, a fan blows air through a concrete labyrinth beneath the ground. The air cools on its convoluted journey and is released into the glasshouse through steel pipes. The panes of glass are 12mm thick and have a low iron content which allows over 90 per cent of light through. Meanwhile, fan-like shades on the east and west sides of the glasshouse protect plants from the most intense heat of the summer sun.”
Inside the Alpine House, there is a small planted section, and two areas where plants in pots are bought in whilst they look at their best.
After this greenhouse I headed off at a mean pace to what I consider to be Kew’s jewel in the crown, The Palm house.
The Palm House has 3 levels that you can walk on, ground level, a lower ground level where there are fish tanks, and an upper lever where you can walk around a walkway looking down on the plants. As there were lots of kids in this Greenhouse, I decided to give the underground level a miss and stick to the planted areas.
I entered the Palm house at one end and left by the far end, the biggest section is in the middle.
The far end of the Palm House has some Cycads in pots.
Then I found the doorway out into the fresh air.
Onto the next Glasshouse, The soon to be closed for renovated Temperate House.