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The Allure of Glasshouses

Deborah Mistry

From my Granny’s greenhouse, packed to the brim and smelling sweetly of tomatos and geraniums, to my favourite building in London, the magnificent Victorian Palm house at Kew, with it’s lush tropical greenery and ornate white metalwork (rusted over years in the sky-high humidity) I have always been obsessed with glasshouses.

When jetting off for some winter sun isn’t an option, I don't think there is a better alternative than spending a few hours in an indoor garden. It is a matter of taste whether you prefer the types of glasshouses that try and recreate the feelings of the tropics, like the magnificent Bio domes at The Eden project, and the glasshouse at Wisley, with waterfalls and walls of creepers, or the more orderly, English country estate style with rows of citrus trees and pot plants that are so evocative of the Victorian era. Personally I adore both. In the depths of winter, when the trees are bare and everything is grey, glasshouses are small (or sometimes not to small) oases of colourful vegetation, fulfilling that very human need to be surrounded by greenery .

The Iconic Palm house at Kew

The Iconic Victoria Palm House at Kew Gardens

The incredible orchid festival at Kew a few years ago. This event which runs every February is always magnificent and the perfect antidote to the gloomiest time of year.  

Geraniums in a smaller glasshouse at The Lost Gardens of Heligan. This looked like a more orderly version of my Granny's one and the smell was wonderful. 

The King of Glasshouses: the awe-inspiring rainforest bio dome at The Eden Project. 

Finally, the glass house at RHS Wisley which I am very lucky to live very close to and so visit regularly. 


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