Image of palm house interior with 2 horticulturists collecting propagation material.
Collecting propagation material in the Palm House

During summer 2021 the first phase of the Biomes Project began and the Glasshouse staff were tasked with the mammoth undertaking of removing all plants from the Palm Houses in preparation for restorative construction work to begin.

The Palm Houses were home to around 800 irreplaceable specimens which had been wild-collected or donated historically to the Garden and which required expert care and knowledge to conserve for the future.

As part of this project, many of the large specimen trees were propagated by cuttings. In a bid to retain as much of the collection as possible these trees were also pollarded- with their top and branches cut to encourage new growth, lifted, and potted into custom made air-pots with pallet bases. These pollarded and potted trees were nurtured over winter in the hope they would re-shoot in spring. The new shoots will provide excellent propagation material which will allow us a second attempt at propagating some tricky species- some of which are endangered in their own habitats.

Many of the cuttings taken in summer last year have been successful and are now potted up and growing away under the close supervision of the team.  Most of these cuttings were softwood, semi-hard wood and heel cuttings which were treated with rooting hormone and placed on a heated mist bench.

It is fantastic to see these new plants thrive and to have safeguarded the valuable historic Living Collection for future generations.