Alpine-house.JPG (21231 bytes)Kew Alpine House: When we visited the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in southwest London (May 2002), we were fortunate to be shown around by a volunteer guide. This knowledgeable lady took us to various places of interest in the Gardens.
The Alpine House was one of the most interesting and certainly the most colourful. The Alpine Glasshouse House is cooled rather than heated because the plants growing there are from “alpine” areas. This term applies to plants found growing at high altitudes between the tree line and the zone of snow or ice cover.
Alpine plants, from the Southern Hemisphere, were well represented. Species under cultivation came from the mountainous regions of the South Island of New Zealand, the Cape of South Africa, Tasmania and the Andes Mountains of South America.
Most of the alpines were small shrubs, perennials, annuals and a large collection of alpine bulbs. Tasmania was represented by a number of daisies and Lomatia tasmanica, a rare shrub in the Proteaceae family.
The image shows part of the colourful display in the Alpine House during the early part of an English summer.