Belfast Telegraph

Botanic Garden's Tropical Ravine's £3.8m revamp begins

By Linda Stewart

Hundreds of rare tropical plants are on the move - but don't worry, they're not triffids.

The unique plants have been moved out of the dense indoor jungle that is Botanic Garden's Tropical Ravine while a £3.8m restoration gets under way.

The Victorian glasshouse closes next Monday so that work can start on the restoration, which is expected to transform the dilapidated building into a must-see visitor attraction. It is due to open to the public once again in spring 2016.

Belfast City Council said many unique plants had already been moved to other glasshouses in Botanic Gardens for safekeeping, while special measures were being taken to protect plants which were too precious to be moved when work starts early next year.

Chairman of the parks and leisure committee, councillor Adam Newtown, said: "This is the last chance to visit the Tropical Ravine before its closure on November 17, but the restoration work will eventually transform a crumbling building into a must-see attraction for old and new visitors alike."

The costs of the project are being paid for by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Belfast City Council, through its investment programme for the city.

The Friends of Belfast Botanic Gardens is also contributing towards the £3.8m restoration works.

Background

The Tropical Ravine in Botanic Gardens is the only feature of its kind left in Northern Ireland and one of only a handful in Ireland. The Victorian glasshouse has fallen into decay and the roof needs replacing. Gaps between the glass panes are allowing heat to be lost and rain to fall into the structure in winter, resulting in plant losses.

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