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In the 19th century the Marquess of Blandford grew vanilla vines in a glasshouse. There's a vanilla vine in the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew. John Dean grew vanilla vines in his greenhouse in Surrey by carefully controlling temperature, moisture and shade. Until recently we weren't aware of anyone managing to produce vanilla flowers or vanilla beans in the UK.
BUT ........ in June 2019 the Head Gardener at Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Glasshouses told us they had successfully produced vanilla flowers for the first time in 25 years in 2018 and again in 2019. Fantastic news! And they produced vanilla beans for the first time ever this year. Wayne sent us these wonderful photos.