There is a hashtag on Instagram called #ihavethisthingwithglasshouses which has over 4000 images highlighting the beauty of glasshouses, and rightly so. I personally find much serenity and peace when wandering around the paths of these botanical spaces in the shadow of towering tropical specimens or quietly examining an unusual cacti collection. There is something undeniably appealing about their opaque walls and ceilings and the atmosphere created by so much living and breathing beauty.
For those times you strive a calming influence but can’t quite justify a glasshouse visit, then turn to these beautiful new books, both exploring the uniqueness of greenhouses around the world.
Botanical by Samuel Zeller is essentially a photography book, featuring a foreword by journalist Rachel Segal Hamilton followed by a few words from the photographer, before showcasing the body of work Zeller has created on his journey visiting glasshouses across Europe. His focus is on capturing how the plants enclosed within are seen through the panes of glass, resulting in a beautiful collection of images, many which almost look like paintings.
Samuel has documented moments within these spaces, like when the light is perfectly dappled, when structural plants have cast striking shadows or the moody, misty effect caused by condensation. This book has made me look at glasshouses from a different perspective – observing the beautiful shapes and patterns created by the combination of plants and their environment.
Being a fan of the much loved, plant-filled Instagram feed of Haarkon, I was excited to see the launch of their first book – Glasshouse Greenhouse. With over 200 pages of greenery goodness, you will find architectural glasshouses through to cobbled together tiny greenhouses, from Oxford, UK to Adelaide, Australia.
The variety throughout the book keeps you turning; I love the juxtaposition between the monumental spaces found in botanical gardens around the world with the small private collections owned by individuals. In the words of India and Magnus themselves: ‘You may find the odd factual snippet here, but it’s much more about capturing the sentiment of the places that we visited, the essence of the greenhouses and the passion with which they have been created.’ There is a real sense of going on this journey with the couple – almost like a travel book which just happens to discover some of the most beautiful glasshouses around the world.