Exploring the Hortus Botanicus Amsterdam

Ever since discovering the ethereal photography of Janneke Luursema (aka @still___ on Instagram), we have been dreaming of visiting Hortus Botanicus in Amsterdam, one of the oldest (and pink-est) botanical gardens in the world. Preserving more than six thousand tropical trees and plants, the gardens include a monumental Palm House (where you can find some of the oldest potted plants in the world), a Butterfly House, and separate propagation and seedling glasshouses to peek into while wandering through the outdoor gardens. 

After a quick coffee in the sunshine outside the Orangery, we began exploring the ultramodern Three Climate Greenhouse, moving between the distinctly subtropic, tropic and desert zones along artfully suspended metal bridges. With the warm September sunlight filtering through the conservatory's famous collection of cycad trees, we made our way along the treetop walk into the more humid tropical zone, where we found a secret passageway that led to a pool of bathing terrapins. 

Set against a backdrop of dusty peach, the arid zone houses a collection of towering succulents, from ancient cacti and beautiful chalky turquoise agaves to the spindly quiver tree. Like us, fans of Plants on Pink will no doubt already be familiar with the scene, and it was great to finally see the collection in real life, each succulent casting a warped shadow of its prickly silhouette. 

Finally, we took a wander through the grounds to visit the little Butterfly Greenhouse, where we were welcomed by larvae suspended inside 'pupal cabinets', and hundreds of tropical butterflies dancing around and settling on the leaves of coffee plants, pepper plants and sugarcane. 

Rose Ray