In its latest partnership with the RHS, Hartley Botanic has unveiled a new, iconic glasshouse commission to form the centrepiece of the Royal Horticultural Society’s new edible gardens at RHS Hyde Hall.
With a unique octagonal design, stately roof lantern and 14 metre span, the new Hartley Botanic Hyde Hall glasshouse provides a truly arresting landmark visible far beyond the gardens themselves and is a calling card for the manufacturer’s engineering expertise.
The new glasshouse joins a long list of public commissions for the Lancashire-based manufacturer from some of the UK’s leading horticultural organisations and institutions with ‘Hartleys’ at National Trust properties, Kew Gardens and Hampton Court…to name a few.
The commission unveiling comes after Hartley Botanic was named the RHS’ recommended aluminium greenhouse and glasshouse supplier in February.
The new Hyde Hall glasshouse is a bespoke and original version of the manufacturer’s Victorian glasshouse model, in an arresting and unusual octagonal design. From above, the glasshouse’s roof is a perfect octagon, with the shape allowing for an impressive growing volume and allowing light to flood in from every angle. The glasshouse includes two sets of very large doors running from North to South and a feature roof lantern with a 3 metre span. Externally, the structure harks back to classic and beautiful feats of Victorian engineering but internally, high-tech heating and ventilation systems mean the glasshouse’s climate can be controlled at the touch of a button. The glasshouse has been powder coated in Hartley Botanic’s proprietary Verona Stone colour and, set on a rise within Hyde Hall’s gardens, the structure can be seen for miles across the Chelmsford landscape.
At a span of 14 metres the glasshouse pushes the boundaries of what is possible with a system of aluminium extrusions which are self-supporting. Hartley Botanic’s engineering expertise, honed over 79 years, has achieved a light yet strong structure of a size and scale which generally requires steel supports to hold construction in place. The challenge of the glasshouse’s dimensions also required aluminium extrusions and individual panes of glass which were the largest available in the industry today.
The glasshouse has been a year in gestation and constructed using a combination of high-tech design and traditional manufacturing methods. Advanced 3D CAD Software was used to visualise and design the structure but very little automation was involved in its construction. Although Hartley Botanic uses modern cutting equipment, much is still hand operated using traditional ways of working. Traditional mechanical joints have been used throughout the structure rather than welding and the glasshouse was trial assembled completely by hand.
As in every Hartley greenhouse or glasshouse, each pane of glass has individual, bespoke frames and there is no glass to glass contact. This means broken glass is easier to replace and can be done from the outside with minimum impact to the overall structure. Every part within the glasshouse, down to the smallest bracket and extrusion, is on record and drawn on file for easy remanufacture. In this way, Hartley Botanic can easily support the glasshouse’s ongoing maintenance and repair.
Robert Brett, Curator of RHS Garden Hyde Hall commented; “We wanted something which visitors could really enjoy to form the core of our new edible garden. The octagonal shape of the Hartley Botanic Glasshouse is the perfect centrepiece to the surrounding circular landscaping and it enables us to showcase some of the more tender exotics as well as increase our capacity for year-round displays. We hope it will inspire many visitors to try their hand at edible growing.”
Tom Barry, Managing Director of Hartley Botanic commented; “This commission was a really exciting one for us. It is always a thrill to work on projects we know the public will be able to enjoy, but the scale of the brief and challenge to create a centrepiece in keeping with the garden’s circular landscaping was very interesting. We are increasingly seeing demand from organisations who want a greenhouse or glasshouse to tap-into continued interest in growing your own, and specifically, what that means in terms of taste and variety. We are sure the new glasshouse and gardens will be a great inspirer for many gardeners.”
All Hartley Botanic’s greenhouses and glasshouses are made to order. Garden Centres interested in purchasing a Hartley Botanic greenhouse for their planteria should visit: https://www.hartley-botanic.co.uk or call 01457 819 155 for more information.