I’ve spent many hours working at ‘The Firs’, which is what most of the users call the Manchester University Botanical Grounds in Fallowfield. It’s hidden between student accommodation and a large sports ground, and bordered by old imposing brick walls – such that most people have no idea it’s even there. Despite all those days sieving soil and checking plants for aphids, I hadn’t ventured into the tropical greenhouse until yesterday. Partially concealed behind shade painted glass is a small but beautiful tropical bubble. With 3 heat zones, it reminded me of the Eden Project but on a miniature scale – not that the individual plants are mini! In fact, some of the cacti are up to 90 years old, and have repeatedly had to be trimmed away from the roof panes.