Monday, March 3, 2014

Leiden's Hortus Botanicus

—guest post by Owen

Last weekend, Clara and I went to see Leiden's Hortus Botanicus, the botanical gardens located in the heart of the city center.  We had tried to visit twice before, but only now had we dedicated enough of our Saturday to make a tour possible.

The Hortus Botanicus
Our museumkaarts got us in for free, and the ticketing area opened right into the first greenhouse.  We walked down an aisle, flanked by trees in square containers, to a metal spiral staircase that let us see above the foliage:

The catwalk at the roof of the greenhouse held the garden's "Gallery of Carnivorous Plants", and from there we descended through other exhibits back to the ground floor.

At the far end of the greenhouse was an exterior door.  It still being early spring in Leiden, there isn't a lot blooming outside excepting crocuses and snowdrops (of which, though, there are many), so visiting Hortus isn't yet on most people's radar, and there were no crowds to follow to the next point.  But after trying a couple locked doors (Hortus is also an active research facility), we found the second public greenhouse and entered.

I'd never seen a banana tree flowering.
The leaves of the banana tree are so huge!
These ginkgo leaves remind me of a Calder mobile.
This aquarium contains exotic underwater plants.
Adjoining this second greenhouse were several additional rooms of orchids, ferns, and carnivorous pitcher plants.

A large part of the botanical gardens are outside; we were impressed by the taxonomical organization of the plots, but they will probably be more spectacular after a few more weeks of warm weather.  But we still had fun roaming the grounds on this beautiful day:

Definitely worth another visit later this spring.  Thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. Nice tour, Owen. We look forward to seeing it with you one day!


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