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Glasgow Botanic Gardens
History of the Gardens
The Glasgow Botanic Gardens were born in 1817 in order to provide botanic supplies for Glasgow’s University. Having also been used also for hosting public events, they are now run by the City of Glasgow as a public park and facility.
This large park, in Glasgow’s West End, contains an arboretum, many large glasshouses, and a fascinating but now derelict railway station as well as the existing Kirklee railway station.
The Gardens’ Heritage Trail takes the visitor round over 30 features of interest, including the Kelvin Walkway and the Arboretum tree collections.
The glasshouses and plants!
These Botanic Gardens sport many glasshouses, Kibble Palace being the most spectacular from the outside. It is a stunning and extremely large wrought iron framed nineteenth century glasshouse, designed by John Kibble. Mr Kibble is mentioned on the Friends of the Botanic Gardens website – they say “Certainly he was a Victorian entrepreneur and eccentric. He dabbled in many things winning medals for his photographs using a camera, lenses and glass plates so huge they had to be moved around on a horse and cart. He was the only man ever to have bicycled across Loch Long on floats!”. He sounds like a fascinating character who well deserves this superb glasshouse as a lasting tribute!
Kibble Palace was erected in 1873 and was initially used as a concert and meetings venue initially but has been used for plant cultivation since the 1880s. Now specialising in tree ferns from Australia and New Zealand, it now is proud to present a stunning display of some very aged plants – some with roots all the way back to the 1880s.
Ten glasshouses provide the visitor with everything from seasonal floral displays, orchids, desert plants, rainforest schemes, palms, education on the economic uses of tropical plants, and displays of ferns, begonias and tropical waterlilies.
Three of these plant areas (orchids, tree ferns and begonias) have been designated as national collections by the National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens.
The arboretum’s tree collection
Opening in 1976, the arboretum’s collection now displays some quite mature specimens in natural groupings along the banks of the River Kelvin.
The tea room is positioned in what used to be the Curators House, close by to Kibble Palace, with both indoor and outdoor dining areas. For snacks and drinks there’s also a refreshment stand near the main gate.
Opening times and parking
The Glasgow Botanic Gardens are open year round, though the opening times for glasshouses and tearooms are reduced for the Winter months. At time of writing, the grounds are open from 7am till dusk, the glasshouses open at 10 year round, but close at 4:15 in the Winter and 6pm in the Summer. The tearooms, similarly open at 10, but close at 4:15 in the Summer, and dusk in the Winter.
There is no parking within the grounds of the park (there is however some limited parking for disabled visitors), but visitor parking is available on local streets.
Do check either the Friends website or the Council’s website for updated information.
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