As the plants start to form a framework, the rockwork nears completion.
The final touches are now being made to the granite outcrop; the base colour is sprayed on and intricate details are applied, such as lichens and subtle variations in the composition of the rock surface emulating the weathering of the granite.
Applying fine detail to the granite outcrop
The finished rock looks remarkably realistic and once the plants are placed and planted, the outcrop begins to look just like the Inselberg landscapes of Western Australia witnessed first hand back in January.
The rockwork nears completion, while in the foreground evergreen kangaroo paws (Anigozanthos flavida) are planted
Meanwhile, with the larger trees and shrubs in place the smaller specimens are planted around them to form the thicket of diverse species characteristic of the Australian flora. Bottlebrushes (Callistemon) and spider flowers (Grevillea) are among the plants that make up the fabric of the landscape.
The Kew team getting stuck in!
In addition, around 2000 flowering bedding plants arrive, including Swan River daisies (Brachyscome) and, rarely seen in the UK, desert everlastings (Rhodanthe), to be interwoven throughout the display. Some have been specially grown from seed for the landscape, such as Sturt’s desert pea (Swainsona formosa), an inhabitant of Australia’s red centre and one of the star plants highlighted on the information panels.
Swan River daisies delivered to the site, ready for planting
Once all the plants are in, the soil is mulched, providing a high quality finish to the planting beds, as well as suppressing weeds and conserving moisture in the soil. Different mulches are used for the varying habitats represented, including red sand to indicate the dramatic, inhospitable desert of Australia. The final task is surfacing the path, ready for the opening this week.
- Steve & Richard -
About Steve, Tony and Richard
Steve Ruddy is Manager of the Garden Development Unit, and is responsible for concept design, planning and delivery of a diverse range of projects, services and activities at Kew.
Tony Hall is responsible for Kew’s Arboretum, managing the globally important plant collections and heritage landscape. Expert in all aspects of plant growth and care, Tony manages the Arboretum Nursery ensuring the collections are safe guarded for the future. You can find out more about his work by following the Arboretum team blog.
Richard Wilford is the Collections Manager in the Hardy Display Section at Kew. His responsibilities include both nursery collections and collections on public display such as the Alpine plants, Grass Garden, Woodland and Rock Garden, and Order Beds at Kew. Richard also frequently contributes to the Alpine and Rock Garden team blog.
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