Saturday, 14 August 2010

It's raining again ... so head for the glasshouses!

It's raining again and the forecast is gloomy, so head for one of the glorious glasshouses here in Britain to lift your spirits. We are blessed with so many marvellous gardens in Britain and some have magnificent indoor wonderlands, where you'll find enough colour to entertain the kids and have a great day out ... rain or shine ... and it's not just plants you'll find either!
One of the more unusual undercover gardens is The Living Rainforest, near Newbury in Berkshire where you'll find fabulous foliage alongside little critters like the one above, all in a one-acre glasshouse. Filled to bursting with exotic plants, free-roaming animals (not the one above though), butterflies and birds, it's guaranteed to entertain the kids on a rainy day. And if it's any consolation, I've only ever visited when it's pouring and still managed to entertain myself here!
One of my favourites is the National Botanic Garden of Wales (and I've never yet managed to visit when the sun's shining), so have spent many hours lurking under shelter in the glasshouse - the biggest single-span structure of its kind anywhere in the world. It's filled with wonderful blooms like the one above and you'll be able to wander through all the different regions, pretending you're in Australia, South Africa or South America even if the rain is beating down on the roof above. But you get to ogle all the plants and keep dry - this is a really wonderful day out!
Perhaps best known of all indoor garden retreats are the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew - designated a World Heritage Site since 2003 - there is something for everyone here in the glasshouses, from the magnificent palms in the Palm House with its rooftop walk; to the computer controlled microclimate which nurtures the blooms in the Princess of Wales Conservatory; and the fabulous lilies (below), which come into bloom in the autumn.
And don't forget RHS Wisley, which has an equally wonderful glasshouse, filled to capacity with magnificent plants, that will keep both adults and kids occupied for hours. And then there are all the cacti and succulents too (below). There are also glasshouses at the big university gardens - Oxford and Cambridge to name just two. So keep your spirits up and go to a glasshouse in the pouring rain - you'll have a great day out and can even keep the kids entertained in the last few weeks before they go back to school. And do let me know which ones I've missed!
I've never been to Birmingham, but am going to take a leaf out of my own book tomorrow and set off early to see the glasshouses there .... I hear they're incredible so will let you know how I get on!

8 comments:

  1. Have a lovely trip to Birmingham

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  2. How beautiful and exotic! All amazing glasshouses I hope to visit someday. Stunning photography!

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  3. Hard to believe there's somewhere that you haven't bee to! lol

    Beautiful pics!

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  4. Looking forward to your post on Birmingham, I dont live far away but not been to the gardens yet.

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  5. That's a whole new world of gardens to explore! All added to the list ;)

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  6. loved the photo of the critter on the branch...he looked well grumpy with the weather!

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  7. Love that chameoleon how you spell it?

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  8. I am loving all the fiery hot colours on your blog at the moment, very inspiring:)

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