The Tropical zone in Cannington's glass houses

As the warmer weather appears to have deserted us again I've taken measures into my own hands and today I'm sharing pictures from our visit to the Tropical zone in Cannington's glass house.  It was grey and misty in London for most of today and while the warmer temperatures are forecast, I'd appreciate if they were here now.  I'm sure you would too!

The glass house was hot and humid, replicating the wet tropics of Indonesia and the Amazon Rainforest, I'm taking this post as a kind of acclimatising type of post in readiness and anticipation of less grey, less misty and more Spring-like weather.  

Even just writing this post I can feel the warmth as we stepped into this area, the temperatures aim to be between 26 and 28 degrees, tough hey?

Lush leaves in the tropical zone at Cannington

Warm, but lush. 

Just look at all the greens, and the odd burst of colour too.

Pops of colour in the jungle
speckled leaves enjoying the heat as much as me

As we walked around the small but densely planted space, something unusual caught my eye above me.  It was green, but not the usual green of plants. Taking a closer look, I was right, but no less curious. 

up above there was something strange and green

I don't think I've ever seen anything like it, and had no idea what it was. We thought it might be pepper, but we'd seen that at RHS Wisley and it wasn't this colour. 

Isn't the colour vibrant? And isn't it fascinating?

On closer inspection it was jade vine and as vibrant as it looks here

Thankfully there was a sign telling us it was a "Strongylodon macrobotrys" or more helpfully a Jade Vine.  I can see how it gets its name!

It's also commonly known as an Emerald Vine or Turquoise Jade Vine and is a native of the tropical forests of the Philippines.  Stems can be up to 18 metres in length and it's a member of the pea and bean family.  Can you imagine if I grew one of these on the allotment...

No me neither, especially in this weather.

colourful leaves in the jungle at cannington

But there was more colour for us to see before we headed back to the more temperate areas.  The pink, red and green leaves above, which I'm sure I've photographed before, most likely at Wisley and a much welcomed hibiscus. 

The prettiest hibiscus at Cannington in Somerset

Doesn't it look fresh and full of warmth.  So who knew that you could find such tropical-ness in a small part of Somerset which is well worth a visit if you're close by.  I'm sure you won't be disappointed, and the added bonus is that if it's a chilly day, like us, you can spend time discovering the peculiar, but wonderful Jade Vine.

Cannington's Cacti

Did you know that at approximately one fifth of the Earth's land surface is desert? No me neither, but nearly 10 million square kilometres (or 3.9 million miles) is true desert, where rainfall is extremely low. I learnt this, and more, in the Arid Zone in the Botanical Glasshouse at the Walled Gardens of Cannington.

As we know deserts aren't devoid of plants, but the plants have adapted to their conditions to store and make the most of the water available. While I know very few of the cacti names, that doesn't stop me admiring them, that means in this post there's few, if any, plant names, but there are some great plants.

See what I mean?

Cacti of every shape in the arid zone in Cannington's Botanical Glasshouse

The symmetry and patterns from cacti are fascinating. As are the succulents, I couldn't resist shoving my phone almost into the succulent below to capture the texture and colour.

Taking a closer look in the arid zone in Cannington's Botanical Glasshouse

I was pleased - and amused - to spot more Cowboys' Bums, which still has to be the best plant name ever.  Perhaps it's a coincidence, but I last spotted them in Cornwall, so are they a South West thing?

And cowboy's bums again - must be a South West thing

I wasn't expecting to be hit with this lime green-yellow flower though, it's as exquisite as any cactus in this biome, it's stunning isn't it?  

An almost fluorescent flower in the arid zone in Cannington's Botanical Glasshouse

There were plenty of cacti to follow, the one below doing its best to blend in to the gravel, no doubt another survival ploy.

An unusual looking plant in the arid zone in Cannington's Botanical Glasshouse

And don't be fooled, these look fluffy, but are far from fluffy.  I tried.

yellow topped cacti in the arid zone in Cannington's Botanical Glasshouse

We had the glasshouse to our self and it was great to be able to get up close to the plants, capturing the water drops on the cactus below.

It's as prickly as it looks - in the arid zone in Cannington's Botanical Glasshouse
in the arid zone in Cannington's Botanical Glasshouse

As we were leaving and even I thought I couldn't take any more photos of cacti, I proved myself wrong, as I spotted this snail snoozing quite comfortably in the prickliest of places.

Who else spies a snail in the arid zone in Cannington's Botanical Glasshouse

There were six biomes - or areas - in the glasshouse and this post covers just one of them. There is another photo I'm sharing on my Facebook page today which really made me smile. It's not a great photo, but pop over there and maybe it'll make you smile too.