The Royal Parks agency has accepted that it no longer needs an 80,000 square foot glasshouse in Hyde Park in Central London. Bedding plants are now imported from Holland and using prime real estate for this purpose is not a good idea. So what should happen to the site? The best plan would be to run experiments and find out what works. Only 800m from the original site of Paxton’s Crystal Palace, and larger in extent, it is an obvious place for a wonderful new multi-purpose glasshouse. I favour a tropical garden, perhaps with a Chinese theme. Europe has many Japanese gardens but only a few Chinese gardens and none in which plants and people can enjoy a tropical climate. There could be a swirling glass canopy, with a garden at its heart, shading into a peripheral concourse. Woods and sliding walls could be used to create a delicious climate with space for exhibitions and food courts. The woodland setting would will allow the new glasshouse to shade into the trees, providing a much wider range of microclimatic conditions than is normally available in a glasshouse. Discovering the crystal palace in the midst of a forest will be an exhilarating experience. The greenhouse in the montage, below, is not in the Royal Parks.
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