Historic glasshouse to reopen

Restoration work on a 19th century glasshouse in Chiswick Park, London, is almost complete, with the site soon to be opened to the public.

The Grade I-listed Camellia House was built in 1813 for the sixth Duke of Devonshire, who was an avid plant collector, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS reported).

As the name suggests, the large greenhouse is used to house camellias and includes one of the worlds rarest specimens of the Camellia japonica Middlemists Red.

The collection on show was built up by buying the products of plant hunters as they returned from China and is now considered to be one of the most important on earth.

Having lain all but abandoned since the Second World War, the greenhouse was almost demolished in the 1980s until a group of volunteers started a campaign to save it and identify the plants once more.

Two years ago, English Heritage agreed to fund the restoration project that saw the greenhouses wooden frame and glass replaced and other elements restored.

It will this month be reopened to the public and be used as a visitor attraction once more.

In other news, the RHS has revealed that a wild cherry tree in Cumbria has been named the largest of its kind in the UK.