The biggest Glasshouse on Earth
London has many incredible sights, but one of the most impressive must be the biggest glasshouse in the world at Kew Gardens. The last five years have seen a major redevelopment project in progress which has now finally been completed, seeing the resumption of use of the Victorian Temperate House. The entire structure is a listed Grade I structure which was stripped to the bare bones and given a total overhaul.
Reopened to the public now, the glasshouse boasts some very impressive statistics relating to its restoration. More than 5,000 litres of paint were needed to cover an area equivalent to four football pitches! In total, 15,000 glass panels were replaced. If you need your windows replaced, fortunately it won’t involve that many glass panels! For Glass suppliers and glaziers Bristol, visit a site like https://www.romanglass.co.uk/
The reason for such a colossal glasshouse is the collection at Kew Gardens of some 10,000 plants from temperate regions around the world, geographical regions that do not see frost. The importance of this collection is that it is the final refuge for 1,500 of the most threatened plant species on earth. One example of a protected species is the Encephalartos woodii from South Africa. This tree has completely disappeared from nature and now only seen in botanical gardens and the private collections of plant lovers.
Only the male tree of this species survive, with trees in private collections being a replica of the one looked after in Kew Gardens that were collected during the 1800s. Many plants contain both parts of the male and female for reproduction, but this tree requires a female partner for seed yield. The hunt is still on for a female cycad plant to be raised with the Encephalartos woodii, also known as the loneliest tree in the world. There is great importance in protecting these plants and large trees. With only a few still living in the wild, only one fire, earthquake or monsoon could destroy them forever.
Here are some more remarkable facts about the largest glasshouse on earth:
Five-year restoration project cost £ 41 million.
Almost 70,000 separate parts of the structure were removed from the structure and then cleaned, repaired or replaced.
This project involved the replacement of 15,000 panes of glass.
110 miles of scaffolding needed to complete the project. This is equivalent to the overall length of the M25 motorway.
Using a crane, more than 100 urns were removed from the building to be restored.
This project took 1,731 days and involved 400 staff and contractors.