Sunday, 3 June 2018

The Tropical Ravine

Yesterday was a good day - can I get a "Hallelujah"? PLEASE read to the end - there is exciting news!

We took it easy, went to do our Saturday morning messages and have a coffee whilst we planned something fun for the afternoon. The sun was shining and there was absolutely no rain on the forecast so we decided to finally go and visit the refurbished Tropical Ravine up in Belfast's Botanic Gardens. For anyone who has lived, worked or studied near Belfast the Botanic Gardens are a place of joy and we are no different.

I remember the last time I was in the Ravine and it was awesome, in a run down, rusty and mouldy way. A place that had a certain smell, that of rotting plant life and stagnant water but good gracious was it beautiful at the same time.

2015 photograph - property of The Irish News

photo of renovated Ravine - Carrie Gault 2018

This Victorian beauty was originally opened in 1889 as a Temperate House and extended only a couple of years later to create a additional Tropical section. After that is wasn't touched, but for a new roof in the 1980's. So it was a brilliant surprise when it closed in November 2015 for a full £3.8 million renovation.  It finally re-opened on the 12th April this year (2018) and all I can say is "wow!"

Here are a few photographs, oh and we entered at the new bottom entrance - leading straight into the Tropical section....

It was displayed on the wooden framed thermometer here that the temperature was 36.3 degrees but the humidity was an overwhelming 53%. There aren't many photos from this section as I was melting, literally melting into a puddle....

The misting mechanism over the tropical plants and the gorgeous new roof and windows. 

It even looks too humid to be survivable, ahaha 

The designers kept the old rusty railings and simply painted them and added a new wooden top.

I was more in my element when it came to the Temperature part of the Ravine, I could have stayed there quite some time, soaking up all the calming greens and the playful textures and explosions of colour here and there. There is also the original waterfall in this part and the sound is lovely. Sadly there were 'other people' (always a bother when you want to have quiet meditation and maybe a snooze) so I was a little on edge and stuck to simply wandering around and getting my photos :)

An explosion of green

Banana leaves are incredible, I adore the way they reflect the light

The tricking waterfall

Oh how I do love a fern or 6 

The extremely rare and delicate Killarney Fern

Clockwise from top left - the 'Makaya bella', the 'Nerium oleander' in bud and flower, 'Hibicus' in both in pink and white, 'Senna floribuna' from a distance.

The same banana plant as before but from this side we could see it was in fruit 

Just one more green photo before I go.

I would like to share that this is also going to be the 1st blog post on my revamped ecotherapy blog! "What?" you say
"Yes, 10 years on the same blog has left me wanting a new adventure, so I will keep 'Grow Our Own' as an archive and move to my new address at 'A Stubborn Optimist'. Exciting times!
I do hope you will join me there. And tell your friends too" 😊

Love, Carrie xxx

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