Greenhouses and Conservatories
From the Orangery to the Conservatory
People have been looking for ways to protect fragile and tender plants since ancient China and the Roman Empire. Today's greenhouses originated in the mobile shelters designed in the Renaissance for the new species--orange and lemon trees, rare and precious spices--brought back to Europe during the great Age of Exploration.
Until the early nineteenth century, greenhouses were the exclusive plaything of the aristocracy. It was the Industrial Revolution, coupled with the Victorian vision of improvement for the masses, that led to the building of the magnificent public greenhouses that grace so many cities today. From London to Philadelphia via Adelaide and Buenos Aires, discover the beauties of these awesome structures that pay tribute to their farsighted and inspired designers.
The Conservatory: a Way of Life
The conservatory today is as much of a lifestyle statement as it ever was. The difference is that today, anyone can own a conservatory, as long as they have a few square meters to glass over. This section is full of design ideas and hints on how to make the most of your space and the best materials to use for construction and decoration, and is illustrated with beautiful photographs of the greenhouses of the famous, past and present.
A goldmine of stunning greenhouses to visit in Europe and North America, plus a list of addresses to help you start planning your own conservatory, however modest or ambitious. Also includes a list of Websites for further help and advice.
When visiting the superb public gardens of London, New York or Paris, it is hard to remember that the magnificent palaces andcathedrals of soaring glass that we so admire today began life as simple mobile shelters for precious plants brought back from the tropics. It was the nobility's taste for exotic fruit that led to the creation of ever more elaborate and extravangant greenhouses and conservatories. The nineteenth century saw the expansion of public gardens open to all, and the birth of such ambitious creations as the Crystal Palace and Kew Gardens in London. Today, the public greenhouse plays a vital role in sheltering rare and endangered species as part of breeding programs, while grand creations like the Eden Project in Cornwall or Montreal's Biodome are paving the way to the future.
The private greenhouse or conservatory, although on a smaller scale, can be just as enchanting. It is a place to relax, to be with friends, to escape from the stresses of everyday living. Take inspiration from this beautifully illustrated book to create your own masterpiece, big or small, modern or traditional. Whether you have space for a separate greenhouse in your own grounds or simply decide to roof over a terrace of balcony with glass, "Greenhouses and Conservatories" will help you make the best of the space available.
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