Dripping with colour
February’s a strange month: you desperately want it to be spring but it keeps you in limbo for a few more weeks until the crocus and daffodils appear in any numbers. However, if you are craving a bit of colour and a way to kick off the celebrations of the International Year of Biodiversity you couldn’t do better than to hot-foot it down to the Princess of Wales Conservatory and Waterlily House at Kew where, right now, splashes of exotic colour are dripping from every corner – orchids of every shape and hue, vibrant bromeliads, bizarre Anthuriums. Together they make a truly wonderful sight. You might even spot the Chinese water dragon if it’s not too busy (although he’s a permanent fixture it has to be pointed out). I popped down to the Conservatory the other day for the press launch event of Tropical Extravaganza and it proved a very welcome break from staring at a computer screen! Here’s one of my (amateur) snaps of a slipper orchid…
The amazing plants of the tropics feature in the new spring issue of Kew magazine, which has just gone to press. We follow up on the story of how Kew’s botanists discover new plant species around the world (from tiny aquatic plants to enormous rainforest trees), and how Kew’s GIS team manage to map the vegetation of entire regions to help protect endangered species. Biodiversity is, of course, one of our main themes as its conservation is at the core of Kew’s mission.
There are some visual feasts including a tour through Kew’s Japanese cherry collection and a feature on the wild flowers that thrive in the Gardens. We also head Down Under, with a young team of horticulturists, to Tasmania as they trek through 'where the wild things are’ to gather seeds for the collections at Wakehurst and the Millennium Seed Bank. And we talk to Iain Parkinson on how he manages Wakehurst’s natural areas and native plants and animals. We have been busy!
It’s out on 3 March – we really hope you’ll like it.
Best I get on with the summer issue now!
Did you know that all the events, courses, lectures and tours at Kew and Wakehurst are listed together in Kew magazine?