South Africa fever
By: Christina Harrison - 14/06/2010
As the World Cup kicks off, Kew continues to celebrate the natural wonders of this amazing country.
As I write, South Africa have just started playing Mexico in the first game of the 2010 World Cup. All very exciting – especially as I drew South Africa in the office sweepstake so I have a vested interest! I’m not normally a football fan I have to say, but the fact that the World Cup is in South Africa really strikes a chord.
Celebrating the landscape of South Africa
Kew is celebrating this vibrant country in several ways this summer – Kew’s South Africa Landscape at the British Museum is just starting to come into its own now and we’ll be covering how this dramatic design was put together in the autumn issue of Kew magazine - from choosing the native plants and shipping them across oceans to installing them in the centre of London. The idea is to invite visitors to marvel at the country’s special biodiversity and be inspired as to why it is worth saving.
Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership - Collecting seeds in Africa
If you’ve got your copy of the summer issue of Kew magazine, you’ll know that David Shipp travelled to Namaqualand in South Africa in order to find inspiration and plants for this year’s Palm House Parterre display at Kew. This is being installed right now! I passed the nursery yesterday and trays upon trays of bright orange, pink, blue and red flowers are waiting in the wings to give their star performances. I can’t wait to see it all finished. You can find the plant list and discover much more here.
Plant life in South Africa is under threat
South Africa is one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots – packed with plant species found nowhere else on the planet, which are also under threat and need our help. There are more than 20,000 species in the Republic of South Africa, thousands of which are endemic, but nearly 400 species are classified as vulnerable or (critically) endangered.
Needless to say, some great achievements have been made since seed collecting and banking began in South Africa in 1996. A collection of more than 2,500 species has been conserved and documented at Kew's Millennium Seed Bank, of which more than 80 per cent are rare, threatened or of particular use to man. And of these 2,500 species, over 1,600 are endemics. Take a look at our science and conservation pages to find out more about our work in this region.
Kew is involved in many projects across the whole of this diverse and botanically important continent and you can help too – why not adopt a seed and help these projects to save species? What a great way that would be to help celebrate this fabulous country at this time!
But in the meantime what do you reckon my chances of winning that sweepstake are?
- Christina -
Get Kew Magazine
- You can get your copy of Kew magazine by subscribing or becoming a Friend of Kew.
- It is also available in Kew’s shops for just £3.95.
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.”
- english garden
- for kids
- english heritage
- around the world
- for friends
- gifts that help
- the UK
- ground breaking
- brand new
- for plant lovers
- special interest
- at risk
- Kew at home
- high up
- garden plants
Keep up to date with events and news from Kew