Botanics glasshouse model is a gold-lined show-stopper

View of a section of the "real" Kibble.
View of a section of the "real" Kibble.

A jewel in the crown of the West End’s most prestigious public open space has been “moved” Edinburgh.

But the many fans of the Kibble Palace in the Botanic Gardens needn’t worry, because the structure appearing at the Gardening Scotland Festival in Auld Reekie is just a miniature of the famous iconic glasshouse - best-known for its serene statues, goldfish pond and sweeping palms.

The gold medal-winning Kibble model.

The gold medal-winning Kibble model.

The Glasgow display, which has just won a gold medal from the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society, marks the bicentenary of the Botanics and measures 30 square metres.

It pays homage to botanists throughout the ages who travelled the world collecting new plants and seeds.

The “model Kibble” was created by the council’s Parks Development Design team and features a slate river as well as flora which can be viewed at the Botanic Gardens, and in glasshouses and parks throughout the city. Almost 600 plants were used in the design and much of the planting highlights the council’s tropical and arid collections as well as the Glasgow-based national collections of begonias and tree ferns.

The council team, which includes five apprentices, spent two and a half days putting the display together in the run up to the show and their preparation was meticulous.

They even used a make-up brush tied to a stick to dust tiny specks of dirt from 35 white orchids - ensuring they were pristine for the judges.

All their hard work paid off when they learned on Friday that the stand had won a coveted gold medal from the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society.

Visitors to the three day show at the Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh are invited to view the Glasgow display in the Highland Hall.

Wayne Travis, landscape officer, said: “We’ve had a wonderful response to the exhibit since the show opened and were over the moon to win a gold medal.

People have been taking loads of photographs and asking us questions. The slate river has been really popular, as people want to try it in their gardens at home.

“It was quite stressful putting it all together.

“A few of the plants had gone past their best, so we had to swap them out and juggle things about a bit. “You’re never satisfied, because you want it to look its best and now we have to keep watering it and misting the plants to ensure it stays that way throughout the show.”

All the plants from the exhibit will return to Glasgow where they’ll be used in the city’s parks, glasshouses and greenspaces.

The original Kibble Palace was built by eccentric Victorian entrepreneur John Kibble at his home in Coulport on Loch Long.

Later, after negotiation, it was dismantled and installed in the Botanic Gardens, where it was lit by 600 gas lamps.

As a prestigious venue for meetings and inauguration events it played host to the most famous politicians of the age, including Disraeli, Gladstone and Lord Palmertson.

The Palace closed down in 2003 for three years for a much-needed refurbishment, and remains the centrepiece of one of Scotland’s most famous botanical parks.