Glasshouses revisited – Glasgow’s Kibble Palace

It’s July, we are supposed to be in summer, what better month is there to celebrate garden visits than now? As my blog sidebar chat states, you don’t need sensible shoes here. I should probably add – you don’t need an umbrella or the current month either 😉

Today, we are clicking our heels back to April 13th. You may well ask why. Answer: Old pheasant’s eye wasn’t the only plant that caught my eye on our wander through the Glasshouses at Glasgow’s Botanical Gardens. We particularly enjoyed our visit through The Kibble Palace which went through a restoration lasting three years from 2003-2006. If you follow the link you can take a virtual tour and find out more on its history.

I wonder if the handle above is operational today – I love its aged look.
The Kibble Palace holds a national Tree Fern collection (planted back in the 1880’s).

Some Tree Fern trunks were stunning clad in a living green tapestry.
As much as I’m embracing plants for colour & pollinators, I still love green & foliage.

The neat foliage of the aluminum plant (Pilea cadierei) always catches my eye.
A glasshouse favourite perhaps – seen at Edinburgh Botanical Gardens too 🙂

A strange curtain of leaves is spotted in another glasshouse, what was this?
The leaf patterns made me think of metal work & rivets – a sculpture subject?

The underside of the leaf reveals a neat pattern of collections of fern spores.
Back in the garden I’ve grown a variety of ferns, I’m getting more selective now.

Just inside The Kibble Palace, a pretty wood sorrel in a Scottish heath collection.
I really should add this is delicate flower & foliage to the garden wildflower list 🙂

Just inside The Kibble Palace, a fantastic collection of carnivorous plants.
I lost a different variety a few years ago – under glass may work here too.

Back to another glasshouse with a large flowering cacti – wow, what spikes!
Real flowers & buds are so much better than false glued-on ones aren’t they?

The finale photo, eye catching Bird of paradise flowers in The Kibble Palace.
It’s great to see tropical rainforest plants growing in Glasgow’s West End 🙂

It’s fair to say that Glasgow and Edinburgh’s Botanical Gardens are completely different in style and planting. Edinburgh I am very familiar with and have many fond memories, here on my first visit to Glasgow, I found it had a charm all of its own. Different is good when it comes to gardens, giving the gardener inspiration in a variety of ways.

Where I find Edinburgh more of a tourist attraction, its scale and location makes it so, Glasgow came through to me to be a garden of the people and I guess its location makes that so too. I loved the idea of a garden for the locals and anyone just passing by. Being a plantswoman at heart, Edinburgh, I love for its plant collections especially in the Chinese Hillside Garden.

On entering the Kibble Palace, where tourists were also seen, I will always remember the trio of smart looking, elderly ladies (locals we were guessing) on a very sculptural bench. They looked like they were just in for a natter – fantastic to see. Our wander felt like we were on a park walk, but indoors, under glass and with tropical plants. There was a warmth and welcome felt here.

Our wander outside, again a park feel with beds of seasonal bedding and mature trees, didn’t take in the whole garden as we had a time limit on our visit. We did pass a nice well-equipped children’s play area enclosed to the side of a main path and there seemed to be a community garden too – what a great idea! Making a search for a link I found this to be, The Children’s Garden and felt it would be great to share this too.

“Our aims are to promote good healthy food, healthy outdoor exercise, friendship, arts and music, and to support schools (but not necessarily all at the same time!) In the ten years of The Children’s Garden we’ve done some of that, but there’s plenty of scope to develop this remarkable project further..”

The Children’s Garden website


The Children’s Garden website

I love the request for help with the heavier work. Artists and storytellers in a garden setting is just great to see too. I expect storytelling may be found in the extensive and impressive list of events run by Edinburgh Botanical Gardens and connected gardens, Benmore, Dawyck and Logan Botanical gardens too. There’s also an Edible Gardening Project at Edinburgh.

The Kibble Palace was my favourite part of Glasgow Botanical Gardens. I loved the building, atmosphere and plants – especially the walk through the tree ferns. There is no charge to visit it or any other Glasshouses at Glasgow which are open 10am – 6pm (4:15pm during winter). It’s no surprise then that the glasshouse benches see friends meeting up 🙂

The gardens themselves are open from 7am to dusk all year round. On street parking is available but limited on Queen Margaret Drive so you may have to drive around nearby streets to get parked, as we did.

Garden Tour over, sadly no Painted Lady butterflies toured my garden over the weekend. I do hope other parts of the UK saw them. Rain visited many times, as it has this past week. Friday evening was dry, so it was a late blast of garden border clearing to get the Monarda plants finally in – ready for the Painted Lady and any other passing butterflies and bees.

Needless to say, here in Scotland and with my small pond edging this border, the midge was out too. I may have completed the garden border by artificial light, but by gosh there was nothing artificial with the Scottish midge bite. At 11:30pm this was my latest gardening end on record too – word must have got around that there was a mad and tasty gardener out! I blame the bright night for keeping me out so long – the outside light didn’t come on until around 10:45pm.

I hope you had a great weekend, I suspect many of you may have been out visiting gardens. I hope so too. I’ll have to click my heals and do some virtual garden visiting myself now. See you soon 🙂

This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in July 2016.

6 thoughts on “Glasshouses revisited – Glasgow’s Kibble Palace

  1. What a delightful visit. I wish we had places like this close to where I live. I would have to drive 3 to 5 hours to visit such a place. Those tree ferns are amazing. Seeing the spores on the fern leaves reminded me of a time when a non-gardening friend asked me what was wrong with my staghorn fern. It gets a rusty spore area on the ends of its fronds. It looks odd to the untrained eye but I get excited when I see it. It means they are in perfect conditions to reproduce. Fun to see. I can't believe you are out so late gardening. Ha… I am an early to bed early to rise person. Mosquitoes would carry you away here if you were out so late. Those midges sound awful. We get little bitey flies early spring. Happy gardening…

  2. Good evening, Lisa 🙂 it was a refreshing change of garden visit that’s for sure. The walk through the ferns was quite magical and such a contrast to the outer ring of planting. I agree on the fern spores. Ha-ha… I can get spells of being the early bird too but after my #30DaysWild series of posting late evening my body clock has remained that way for now! I was definitely getting eaten alive with the midge on Friday night but something else got me too! I’ve had to swap wrists for wearing my watch and today have had a nurse look at this bite that has inflamed an area of my arm. Hopefully the cream given will stop it getting any worse. It was a dry evening tonight – I didn't venture out gardening except for a tiny bit of light pruning 🙂

  3. That fern is really unusual. I must admit though to not fuly appreciating carnivorous plants.
    No Painted Ladies here either but to be honest I can't blame them as it has been very windy with a few torrential downpours. Not ideal butterfly weather. Our buddleias are just to flower so maybe that will bring in the butterflies.

  4. Shirley, I hope your bite is better by now. I was thinking about you since I have been watching The Open golf tournament. It is being played at Royal Toone. The weather has been horrible for golfing, high winds and rain. I always wonder if you live near the big golf tournament venues. Have a nice weekend no matter what.

  5. Sue, yes, it was so unusual that at the time I didn’t realise what it was a fern until I saw the back view. Being truthful I’m hot and cold on the carnivorous plants myself but there is something about them that quite captivates me too. We’ve recently added a different one to the greenhouse which should help with any pests on tomatoes or peppers. That’s how I sold the sizzle anyway – I love unusual plants for their shape and this one caught my eye. Shame you didn’t see Painted ladies either – our weather too hasn’t helped the butterflies. Yes, from memory, you have beauties of buddlejas which usually see many, many visitors. Mine are much smaller (the buzz ones) but I still get excited when they burst into flower. Enjoy yours 🙂

    Lisa, thank-you, a week on and my bite is still there but it is dying down and not bothering me anymore. Ah… the golf, sadly my husband is watching highlights as I type this – what a shame that the BBC is no longer covering it Live. I hope you are enjoying the coverage yourselves 🙂 Ha-ha to the Troon spelling – an easy mistake. Well, location-wise in Scotland, Troon is on the West Coast south of Glasgow and a drive of 42 mins from The Kibble Palace. I am more central/to the East side being a bit North of Edinburgh. On the East Coast and to my left there is St Andrews which you will be familiar with if you follow the Dunhill Cup (we were near there this afternoon for a beach walk). The St. Andrews Course is a drive of about 45 mins for us but we have a closer tournament course with Gleneagles where the last Ryder Cup was played, it is just a 30 minute drive 🙂 We had a windy, but dry day here, I took my camera on our walk and had to hide it under my coat so the sand that was blowing up didn’t get to it. Ha-ha – I set the camera to the sport setting, I myself felt seasick trying to take the photos as the plants blew about. Thanks, wishing you a good weekend too, enjoy the golf tournament 🙂

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