A few weekends ago, I boarded a plane from Liverpool with the rest of my THFC crew and hopped across the Celtic Sea to spend the weekend in Belfast. Although the weather had some funny ideas, we refused to let it rain on our parade.
One of our stops on the itinerary was to visit the Botanical Gardens and we did this on Friday afternoon after we'd checked into our lovely city centre apartment. It was a short walk from there and we managed to locate and have a nose about in a couple of super indie bookshops as well (No Alibis and Books Paper Scissors were both great).
We'd been told about the Tropical Ravine and had planned to visit that to see the banana plants, but it happened to be closed for repairs on the day we visited, so that was a shame. The palm house was open though, so we had a lovely explore around there.
The palm house is one of the earliest examples of a curved iron-framed glasshouse: it was built in the 1830s, with the curved dome being added about two decades later and it's still used today to grow a range of plants. I'm unsure whether these are then used for the park around- there was a beautiful flower bed full of all kinds of blooms outside the front of the glasshouse when we visited: an absolute riot of colour.
I find greenhouses and glasshouses a bit like libraries - they're generally pretty quiet and seem to be places where you can just go at your own pace and explore as you like, without being hassled. Everyone's in their own little world of appreciation and discovery, and generally people only tend to be there because they wish to, so they always seem like a happy and contented place to be.
I'm not great at plants, although I'm trying my best with my annual veg-planting endeavours (and incidentally, this year it's going better than most, since I now have a greenhouse of my very own!), but I was pleased to see that many of the specimens in the glass house were labelled. I like to note down the name of things which I see in the hope I'll be able to find myself one for the garden next time I'm at the garden centre..
We spent a very enjoyable hour or so exploring the glasshouse, avoiding the drizzle and generally taking in the planty goodness. I'd definitely recommend. Do you have any nice glasshouses nearby?