England: Kew Gardens (London): World’s largest glasshouse reopens after 5 year makeover.


SAV Comment. 

Anyone who comes to London must pay a visit to the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew.

It is a place that is just out of this world when it comes to flora – collected from all over the world and so carefully looked after.  The Temperate House has this weekend been re opened to visitors after a 5 year restoration; and boy does it, the world’s largest Victorian glasshouse, look superb.  A ‘must visit’ for anyone coming to Ol’ London town.


Watch the video here via this link:



Kew Gardens (London): World’s largest glasshouse reopens.

London’s Kew Gardens is to reopen its Temperate House – the world’s largest Victorian glasshouse – after a five-year restoration.

For the first time in its history, the Grade I-listed structure was “stripped back to bare metal” and modernised.

More than 5,280 litres (1,160 gallons) of paint was used, enough to cover four football pitches, and 15,000 panes of glass replaced.

The house will open to the public on Saturday, 5 May.

The vast greenhouse is now home to a geographically arranged collection of 10,000 plants from of temperate climates around the world – areas sometimes described as “the Goldilocks zone” of the planet, where plants are safe from frost.

These include some of the rarest and most threatened specimens, for which the botanic garden is a final refuge.


Among the 1,500 different species of temperate plants is the extremely rare South African cycad Encephalartos woodii, a plant that has disappeared from the wild and is now found exclusively in botanic gardens and private collections.

This tree has been dubbed “the loneliest plant in the world” because only male plants remain – each a clone of the specimen at Kew, which was collected in the middle of the 19th Century. Some plants contain both male and female parts, but this species requires a female to produce seeds.

Lead horticulturalist Scott Taylor, who is overseeing the Temperate House collection, explained that plant-hunters are still searching for a female cycad so Encephalartos woodii can be bred. And he stressed the importance of having an insurance population of every one of the world’s most endangered plants.

“We have a really important job to keep all of these things going,” Mr Taylor said. “For some plants that are down to a few individuals in the wild – a wildfire, an earthquake, and they’re gone.”

The Temperate House in numbers: 

  • The restoration cost £41m

  • 69,000 individual elements have been removed from building and cleaned, repaired or replaced

  • 15,000 panes of glass have been replaced

  • 116 urns, which had to be carefully lifted by crane off the building, have been restored

  • 180km (110 miles) of scaffolding was used, equivalent to the length of the M25

  • 5,280 litres of paint was used, enough to cover four football pitches;

  • 400 staff members and contractors worked in phases on the project, taking 1,731 days to complete it 

  • In an interview with the BBC, the naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough said he had first visited Kew Gardens “back when it cost a penny”.  “When I had an office job at the BBC, when I used to be stuck in the office and get really depressed, I would come here at the weekend and take a deep breath, because there was a smell of the tropics.

“Plant species can go extinct just like animal species can go extinct,” Sir David added. “[So] this is a very important institution.”


Mummy; Where Are All The Birds and Bees ? – Oh, Ask Bayer and Monsanto !


Two new studies from Europe show that the number of birds in agricultural areas of France has crashed by a third in just 15 years, with some species being almost eradicated. The collapse in the bird population mirrors the discovery last October that more than three quarters of all flying insects in Germany have vanished in just three decades. Insects are the staple food source of birds, the pollinators of fruits and the aerators of the soil.

The chief suspect in this mass extinction is the aggressive use of neonicotinoid pesticides, particularly imidacloprid and clothianidin, both made by the Germany-based chemical giant Bayer. These pesticides, along with toxic glyphosate herbicides such as Roundup, have delivered a one-two punch to monarch butterflies, honeybees and birds. But rather than banning these toxic chemicals, on March 21 the EU approved the $66 billion merger of Bayer and Monsanto, the U.S. agribusiness giant that produces Roundup and the genetically modified (GMO) seeds that have reduced seed diversity globally.

The merger will make the Bayer-Monsanto conglomerate the largest seed and pesticide company in the world, giving it enormous power to control farm practices, putting private profits over the public interest.


The $66 billion Bayer-Monsanto merger just got a major green light — but farmers are terrified

  • Apr. 10, 2018, 2:48 AM

Jim Young/Reuters

  • Bayer, a German pharmaceutical and chemical company, has won approval in the US to buy agricultural giant Monsanto.

  • But farmers are worried about what the consolidation might mean for prices and their future business.

  • Whereas Bayer and Monsanto claim the move will spur innovation, other analysts have expressed skepticism.     

Farmers aren’t so sure.

“From my perspective, they’re saying the exact opposite of what most people in the industry actually believe,” Clay Govier, a farmer in central Nebraska, told Business Insider in January 2017. Govier is the fifth generation to work on his family farm of 3,000 acres, which primarily grows corn and soybeans. The farm has used Monsanto products for at least 12 years, and Govier’s family expects seed and chemical prices to increase due to the merger.

That could put many small family farms in tough positions.

“I just sat down to chat with my banker the other day, and fortunately we’re in a position that I don’t think we’re going to have to have a hard conversation when it comes to loans for next year,” Govier said. “But he said there are a lot of guys out there that are going to have a really hard conversation.”