Book Review: Glasshouse Greenhouse

Glasshouse Greenhouse Book.

Magnus Edmondson and India Hobson are photographers from Sheffield, and together form Haarkon. Through their images and skill for storytelling they have gained a huge social media following through Instagram, with their account now boasting over 200,000 followers. Their new book ‘Glasshouse Greenhouse’ follows their endeavour around the globe to discover some of the most beautiful greenhouses in the world. They have described their journey as ‘a poetic ode to the humble plant house’.

The book is divided into sections according to what Haarkon feel the selection of glasshouses represent the most. Chapters include History, Specimen, Research, Pleasure, Hobbyist and Architecture. All of these chapters are fascinating and include beautiful photographs. Let’s take a look at some of the highlights.


The Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco, California is an amazing example of a historic greenhouse. Located inside the Gold Gate Park, the glasshouse was one of the first to be constructed in the USA and is still the oldest wooden municipal conservatory in the country. It is made particularly remarkable by the fact that since it’s construction in 1879 it has survived a fire, an earthquake, countless storms and many years of neglect. Other glasshouses in this chapter include the NY Carlsberg Glyptotek Winter Garden in Copenhagen and the Nursery Greenhouses at Forde Abbey and Gardens in Somerset.


Glasshouses around the world are often centres for research and nurturing of rare plants. Haarkon have included a selection of such locations in their book in this chapter. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is among the locations they chose to include. Kew was named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2003 and the gardens now house over 30,000 species of plants, as well as a Herbarium with a collection of 8.5 million preserved specimens. ‘It is a centre for global research and at the very core of Kew’s existence is a quest for knowledge and understanding about the natural world and what that means for the future ecology of the planet.’


In this chapter Haarkon have accumulated some of their favourite glass structures that are simply a joy to experience and explore. The epitome of this concept is the Cloud Forest at the Gardens by the Bay, Singapore. This is a spectacular feat of engineering and is a must see if you are in Singapore. It houses the largest indoor waterfall in the world at 115ft. This glasshouse is full of living walls and incredible plant species, adding to the drama of this impressive structure.

This journey has taken Haarkon around the world from the UK, to The Netherlands, Singapore, USA, Australia and Japan. These are just a taster of the structures included in ‘Glasshouse Greenhouse’ and this book is a fantastic read for those with a passion for horticulture. The words and the pictures put together for the book are beautiful and perfectly express Edmonson and Hobson’s passion for these structures and what they represent.

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