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100th Anniversary of the Simpson Shadehouse

100th Anniversary of the Simpson Shadehouse

Date posted: 19 September 2019

Adelaide Botanic Garden is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Simpson Shadehouse on Thursday 19 September 2019.

Opened in 1919, the Shadehouse was created to host a collection of shade-loving plants without glasshouse conditions.

The Shadehouse was named in honour of Mr Alfred Muller Simpson who served on the Board of Governors at Adelaide Botanic Garden from 1899-1917. Funds were generously donated by the family for the construction, costing £530 to build.

Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium Director, Dr Lucy Sutherland, stated that over time many gardens’ projects have been supported through philanthropy and this community contribution is highly valued.

Rustic rockwork made from 120 tonnes of stone form the interior of the Simpson Shadehouse, along with a diverse botanical collection that includes tree ferns, Rhapis Palms, Camellias, Begonias, Hydrangeas, Fuschias, Platycerium, and Pteris.

Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium’s Manager of Cultural Collections, Tony Kanellos, says the interior design really showcases both the plants and South Australian history.

“The eclectic design of rockwork and planting demonstrates an example of an inter-war bush house structure. The conditions inside resembles that of a shady tropical forest, amidst the harsh South Australian climate”.

In March 2019, a large limb from a Eucalyptus grandis fell through the Simpson Shadehouse roof, significantly damaging the structure and forcing its immediate closure.

“We are ensuring that the Simpson Shadehouse maintains its architectural and botanical integrity. It will continue to house botanical collections for future generations to enjoy and learn what to plant in home gardens in the shade,” Dr Sutherland said.

Repairs to the Simpson Shadehouse are currently underway and it is anticipated that it will reopen to the public in 2020.

To find out how you can help support the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium, visit the Adelaide Botanic Gardens Foundation webpage.

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