24 July 2018 By Tash Ellens
The iconic Temperate House at Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew has officially reopened as the largest greenhouse in the world. The opening, hosted by special guest Sir David Attenborough, was a spectacular event celebrating the biggest renovation project in Kew's entire history.
Upon approaching the glasshouse you will be amazed, its impressive size and delicate details are fascinating. The individual components that make up this incredible structure demonstrate architecture in its finest form. Inside there is a stunning collection of plants, some are the last surviving specimen of their kind. The new water features are mesmerizing and the interpretation of space to determine the divide between countries is truly innovative.
Designed in 1860 by Decimus Burton, The Temperate House is home to over 10,000 internationally important temperate zone plants, including some of the rarest and most threatened. The glasshouse is made up of three large sections. In the central zone you will find plants from Australasia and America, the North block hosts plants originating from Asia and the South block is filled with plants from Africa.
The Temperate House plays a vital part in Kew's heritage and future education. Within the glasshouse you will find plants that help clothe and feed us, provide medicines, moderate our climate and clean our air. 500 of the endangered plants were taken out and housed in a temporary nursery, whilst an incredible 10,000 have gone back in. This substantial collection of plants have been propagated and nurtured by Kew's leading horticulturalists.
Below are some of Kew's figures from this lengthy and complex construction project.
- 15,000 panes of glass replaced
- 10,000 individual plants
- 5280 litres of paint used
- 1731 days
- 1500 species
- 200 species grown from seed held in the Millennium Seed Bank
- 116 urns restored
The Temperate House is a unique experience. As the largest greenhouse in the world it is a representation of Kew's heritage and illustrates the future. Find out more about the Temperate House here, and discover how you can get involved here.