London’s Kew Gardens reopens its famed Temperate House – home 10,000 plants from of temperate climates around the world – today after a five-year restoration.
More than 69,000 items have been cleaned and replaced in the vast Grade I-listed building, billed as the world’s largest Victorian glasshouse and home to some of the rarest plants from the world’s temperate regions.
Wildlife champion Sir David Attenborough officially opened the Temperate House on Wednesday, ahead of today’s public opening.
Describing the Temperate House as a “breathtakingly beautiful space”, Sir David Attenborough told the BBC: “Plant species can go extinct just like animal species can go extinct, [so] this is a very important institution.”
The £41million ($56 million) restoration project – with 15,000 new panes of glass put in – required 180 km (112 miles) of scaffolding, 5,280 liters of paint and more than 400 people working on it.
The glasshouse was closed for the works, with a tent structure large enough to cover three Boeing 747 planes enclosing the building in southwest London.
Replanting at the glasshouse started last September. Kew Gardens explained that some of the tallest plants that were previously hitting the roof of the glasshouse have been replaced with smaller specimens – siblings that came from seeds, cuttings and grafts and other breeding methods – to allow more light through and to allow for a greater variety of specimens lower down.
Over time newer plants will mature and grow into the space as before.
The glasshouse first opened in 1863 and was a home to some of the world’s most rare and threatened plants.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief @rosamedea