You can discover many different plants and habitats at Kew this summer including totally tropical waterlilies. Kew's work on these stunning and ancient flowers is revealed in the upcoming issue of Kew magazine.
We’ve been really blessed with the weather in the past few weeks and let’s hope that May has started as she means to go on.
There is so much to do in the garden at the moment – I spent the weekend elbow-deep in compost, potting on seedlings and planting out veg. It does really give you a sense that summer and all its abundance is almost upon us, and there is nothing better to raise the spirits. I do spare a thought for Kew’s gardeners though as their task list is never ending!
Speaking of which, we’re just putting the finishing touches to a piece for the Kew magazine summer issue (out in the first week of June), that goes behind the scenes in Kew’s Tropical Nursery to speak to horticulturist Carlos Magdalena about his work with tropical waterlilies. Not only does Carlos care for a wide range of show-stopping waterlilies, but his work cross-breeding species and cultivars is helping to figure out their family tree and how closely related many of them are.
See the 'thermal waterlily’ (Nymphaea thermarum) at Kew this summer.
One of Carlos’s greatest success stories in recent years is the ‘thermal waterlily’ (Nymphaea thermarum) - a species that is thought to be the smallest waterlily in the world, with leaf pads as little as 1 cm in diameter. It once grew in the shallow waters of thermal springs in Rwanda and had been saved from extinction by the work of several individuals and Bonn Botanic Gardens. Carlos’ contribution was to figure out how, once germinated, seedlings could be raised to maturity and importantly – to flower, to ensure the future survival of the species. It is now one of the gems of Kew’s Nymphaea collection and the horticultural knowledge can be used for reintroduction programmes. To read the full story of the discovery, propagation and conservation of this species click here.
Kew is working in partnership with The Times to create a garden for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2011.
In the upcoming summer issue of Kew magazine we’ll also be reporting on other success stories, including the beautiful hardy orchids at Wakehurst Place, Kew's Australia Landscape at the British Museum, the International Garden Photographer of the Year competition and of course, Kew’s involvement in The Times Eureka garden at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show (see artist's impression above). We’ll be there on the spot as the garden is built and we'll be listening closely to find out what medal hopes it has - so watch this space! Kew staff have been keenly involved in the choice of plants for the Chelsea Flower Show design, with the aim of showing how useful plants are to science and society. I can’t wait to see how it all turns out and you’ll be able to read all about it in Kew magazine – out on 9 June.
- Christina -
- If you’re a Member of Kew you’ll be able to join a behind the scenes tour of the Tropical Nursery on 11 September. See the What’s On pages of the summer edition of Kew magazine for details or see the Kew Members’ pages online.
- Get your copy of Kew magazine – you can buy single copies for just £3.95 in Kew’s shops (RRP £4.95) or you can subscribe to a print or digital edition. If you become a member of Kew you receive Kew magazine absolutely free!
Christina accepts a Kew Publishing award at the Garden Media Guild awards in 2012.
Christina joined Kew in 1999 after finishing a BSc. degree in Plant Ecology and an Advanced National Certificate in Horticulture. After initially working as a horticulturist in Kew’s Arboretum and the Hardy Display section (on the Grass Garden) she went on to become Festivals Interpretation Officer between 2002-2008, helping Kew’s onsite visitors understand what makes Kew tick. In the meantime she completed an MA in Garden History, a subject that continues to be one of her passions.
Christina was short-listed for a Garden Writers Guild award in 2007 for one of her articles in Kew magazine, and is the author of Kew’s Big Trees, published in 2008. She became editor of Kew magazine in September 2008. “I see Kew magazine as a window on the world of Kew,” she says. “I hope between its pages the many facets of Kew’s work and the people who make it happen are revealed for all to see and encourage readers to continue to support Kew.”
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