Botanic Wonders in Kew Gardens

Botanic Gardens, Kew

Imagine being able to enjoy the splendours of the tropics, arid desert, savannah, and more in a single day without ever having to travel.

In fact, that’s precisely what you’ll discover when you visit the Princess of Wales Conservatory at the famous botanical wonderland Kew Gardens. 

This greenhouse conservatory is an excellent location to visit, where you can experience different climate zones and fascinating ecosystems all under one glasshouse roof.

plants in glasshouse

A perfect place for any botany lovers!

Taking in the sights and sounds of Kew Gardens will leave you in amazement as this place is home to some of the world’s most remarkable and varied botanical and mycological collections.

Not only is it the crown jewel of London’s green spaces, but also a World Heritage Site.

Amongst all the breathtaking landscapes, ponds, and woodlands, the conservatory glasshouses are the highlighting gems of Kew Botanic Gardens. 

Though not as visually striking in designs as the Palm or Temperate Houses, the Princess of Wales Conservatory stands to be the most complex glasshouse with the most diverse plant collections.

This exquisite conservatory is the creation of architect Gordon Wilson’s great mind and relentless hard work.

It was later unveiled to the public in 1987 by none other than Diana, the Princess of Wales. Don’t get the wrong idea, though. The inspiration behind the conservatory’s name actually came from Princess Augusta, who in 1759 laid the groundwork for what is now Kew Gardens.

The place really offers an opportunity to travel the world as visitors will be able to explore 10 distinct ecosystems, all beneath a massive glass dome.

Each of these 10 climatic zones, ranging from the cool desert to the tropical mountain and rainforest, is all maintained by an automatic computer to regulate temperature, ventilation, and humidity. Which was pretty impressive and innovative for a design back in the 1980s.

New surprises around every corner

The conservatory features an extensive floor space of 4,500 square meters with multiple fascinating ecosystems. That’s why it is home to a vast variety of plants, including some of the world’s smallest, largest, rarest, most bizarre, most endangered, and most deadly plants (perhaps to some insects).

botanic garden pond

The two main climate zones at the conservatory are the “Dry Tropics” and the “Wet Tropics.”

The titles alone should give you an idea of what to expect from each climate zone: the Dry tropics zone encompasses the plants from the world’s hot, dry places, while the Wet tropics zone is home to moisture-loving plants from rainforests and mangrove swamps.

Within the remaining eight climate zones, you’ll find areas dedicated to carnivorous plants and orchids, as well as a seasonally dry zone displaying desert and savanna species.

Each of these sections is separated by glass barriers.

And the most special part of the whole journey?

You can really feel the changing of different environments as you wander through each section of the glasshouse.

You can explore the variety of spiky, prickly cacti and types of aloe vera while in the desert cool as you travel through the Dry Tropics zone.

Then, under the humid tropical rainforest zone, you’ll be amazed by a long avenue of stunning bromeliad blossoms hung above a pond filled with rare waterlilies.

Not too far away are the display of fibrous mangroves of the muddy swamps with their dense tangle of prop roots. Even the toughest black thumb won’t be able to resist these enthralling collections.

If you look closely enough, you may find some special inhabitants!

The Princess of Wales Conservatory is home to a few animals too. And if the carnivorous plants upstairs didn’t get you, the piranha fishes in the downstairs aquarium are sure to capture your attention.

Other aquatic species can also be spotted through the porthole views of aquatic tanks and ponds. The oldest species at the conservatory is a redtail catfish, which might be as old as the conservatory itself. 

Not only that but there is a chance you might spot Chinese water dragons that live here if you’re lucky. They assist horticulturists in getting rid of cockroaches and other pests, making them an excellent fit for the greenhouses at Kew Gardens.

animal species in botanic gardens

What’s beyond the beauty

Above all, though, the conservatories like those at Kew Botanic Gardens are places of learning and inspiration.

Understanding the natural world is the first step towards protecting it.

Botanical gardens and institutions like this are at the forefront of the fight to conserve the planet. The fantastic people working here are not just horticulturists and gardeners.


They also serve as role models and constant reminders of why it is crucial to preserve natural resources.

Their efforts are concentrated on one primary goal, which is to conserve the world’s flora. They contribute largely to the splendour and diversity of life on Earth.

The world would be far less fascinating if not for their persistent efforts.

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