The earliest known orangery dates from the late 16th century. It was built for the Surrey garden of Sir Francis Carew, whose friends brought back orange seeds from their trips abroad. Orangeries really took off in the 17th century, when orange trees began to be imported from Southern Italy. These plants wouldn't live through a British winter, so gardeners had to find a way to protect them.
The result was the first orangeries, constructed with south-facing windows to make the most of the sparse sunlight. In these orangeries, plants grew in pots so they could be transported outdoors in summer. For extra protection from the British winter, the orangery roof was filled with straw for insulation and the orangery's shutters would close at night.
By the early 19th century, some orangeries had underfloor heating, but their popularity was on the wane. Orangeries needed large, south-facing gardens, which meant they weren't always attached to the house, unlike conservatory styles. A further boost for conservatories was the abolition of window tax in 1845.
Today's orangeries, like conservatory styles, are generally buildings with glazed sides and brick or wood supports. Orangeries use less glass than modern conservatory styles.
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