The first prefect was Carolus Clusius, who in 1594 designed a small garden turned into a medicinal garden and who encouraged the collection of specimens brought from many parts of the world, including South-east Asia, Southern Europe, or South Africa. The small garden below is a reconstruction from the original and has the name of his founder, the Clusius Garden. Clusius was a very prominent botanist and by all accounts, who started planting a collection of tulips in The Netherlands as soon as 1594.
The Hortus botanicus Leiden can be considered a living museum, compounded by different buildings with grounds in between, that were added along the centuries. One of the latest one is the Winter Garden, in the background in the image below. It is a glass and steel huge cubical box, with maximum transparency to receive all sun and light possible, that houses a collection of sub-tropical plants, Cycades and carnivorous plants, among others.
The interior of the Winter Garden is spectacular for the number of plants, the importance of the collection and the information for researchers that the collection offer. Through its glass walls, there is a great view to the botanical garden, the Academy buildings and nearby areas of central Leiden.
But at the same time the impressive transparency and openness of the building, allows the visitor to enjoy the sub-tropical or tropical collections from the outside.
The interior division is based on the collection and the first floor is taken by the Cycades or palm ferns, plants that have millions of years of history, they can survive in the most extreme situations. But man's actions have threaten them to almost the extinction, and this botanical garden (in collaboration with the New York Botanical Garden and the Thailand Nong Nooch Tropical Garden) has started a program of cultivation and preservation.
The spiral ladder from the ground floor take the visitor the upper floor, almost in the ceiling, which is completely taken by the display of temporary exhibits of part of the collection of carnivorous plants. these plants need all the light they can get and a daily dose of insects.
Elevated walkways connect the different areas from where the views of the garden is grandiose, with hanging planters that are full with pots of specimens from different families of carnivorous plants in different stages of growing.
There are collections of varieties from the same family, like the Sarracenias, plants natives to Northern America,
|sarracenia with flower|
Other beauties are the small Droseras, that can live in any continent,
Or the family of the airy Roridulas native from South Africa,