The Tropical Ravine in Belfast's Botanic Gardens has reopened has reopened following a £3.8m refurbishment and it is well worth a visit but as the atmosphere was misty and damp I could not take more than two photographs before my lens became too foggy.
The gardens opened in 1828 as the private Royal Belfast Botanical Gardens. It continued as a private park for many years, only opening to members of the public on Sundays prior to 1895. Then it became a public park in 1895 when the Belfast Corporation bought the gardens from the Belfast Botanical and Horticultural Society. The Belfast Corporation was the predecessor of Belfast City Council, the present owner.
Designed by Charles Lanyon and built by Richard Turner, Belfast's Palm House predates the glasshouses at Kew and the Irish National Botanic Gardens at Glasnevin, both of which Turner went on to build. The Palm House consists of two wings, the cool wing and the tropical wing. Lanyon altered his original plans to increase the height of the latter wing's dome, allowing for much taller plants. In the past these have included an 11 metre tall globe spear lily. The lily, which is native to Australia, finally bloomed in March 2005 after a 23-year wait. The Palm House also features a 400-year-old Xanthorrhoea.