The gazebo, which was built for a rose garden at the Judges' Lodgings in Edgbaston, was given to the gardens by the Lord Chancellor's Department. It is thought to have been commissioned in the early 1820s by the Lloyd banking family, who at the same time built a house on the site of the present Judges' Lodgings. The Lloyds' house was destroyed in the early 1960s.
The gardens were designed between 1830 and 1832 by John Claudius Loudon, a Scottish landscape architect, on a 15-acre site which was south facing, had good quality soil and natural springs. Loudon and the society which was set up to create the gardens disagreed over the glasshouse design: he wanted a large circular house, but this scheme was opposed on the grounds of cost. In the end a simpler design was chosen. There are now four glass houses, the tropical one - which has recently been refurbished - being originally built in 1852 to house the giant tropical water lily Victoria amazonica, the seeds for which came from Chatsworth, in Derbyshire. The lily's leaves grow to 6ft in diameter and there are plans to grow it again at the Botanical Gardens.
The gardens were opened to subscribing members in 1832, and then, in 1846, to the general public. Today, the glasshouses cover a range of habitats from tropical to arid desert, and the gardens include an Acer Collection, the Cottage and Herb Garden and the National Bonsai Collection. For further information, contact: The Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Glasshouses, Westbourne Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 3TR, telephone 021-454 1860.
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