For five years, visitors to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, West London were confronted by a mass of scaffolding and plastic sheeting in the middle of the 121-hectare site along the River Thames. Hidden underneath was Kew’s gem, the Temperate House: the world’s largest surviving Victorian glasshouse.
Now, the wrapping has been removed, and with a new lick of cream paint, reams of new glass and much-improved ventilation and irrigation systems, the glasshouse is once again ready to welcome the sun and thousands of annual tourists. The sparkling cathedral dedicated to protecting the world’s rarest and most threatened plants is once again ready to perform this vital task.
The Temperate House sits at the heart of the gardens, which was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2003. The gardens are home to Kew Palace, once a home for King George III’s large family. The British royal family enjoyed the gardens as a private paradise for almost a century before it opened as a public botanical garden in 1840.
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