Palm House Parterre brings a taste of South Africa to Kew

This summer's planting is inspired by Namaqualand in the Northern Cape, and features plants from this biodiversity ‘hotspot’ to highlight biodiversity issues including environmental threats, climate change and invasive plants.

21 Jul 2010

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Palm House Parterre, Summer 2010

Palm House Parterre (Image: Nicola Merrett, RBG Kew)

Kew's green and pleasant land resembles the dry and dusty plains of Africa in more ways than one this month. The normally verdant lawns have been reduced to brown patches due to lack of rain, but a little part of Africa is creating a brilliant swathe of colour in front of the Palm House.

Flowers in the Palm House Parterre

Designed by David Shipp, Decorative propagator, following a trip to Namaqualand, the Parterre has been divided into three areas, each highlighting different biodiversity issues. The first, filled with cape daisies (Ursinia speciosa), represents a damaged landscape being recolonised by pioneer species. The central area represents a healthy natural landscape with many different species, and the third is a landscape needing management to avoid damage by invasive species.

During the planting of the summer bedding, all the staff in Kew's Hardy Display team are called upon to lend a hand. First the winter bedding is removed, and then just under 20,000 plants have to be planted out in the space of a week - so it's very much all hands on deck!

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3 comments on 'Palm House Parterre brings a taste of South Africa to Kew'

price24 says

13/08/2010 12:00:00 AM | Report abuse

hi Excellent site, keep up the good work. I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks

Visitor Feedback Team says

09/08/2010 12:00:00 AM | Report abuse

We have a large body of Premier Friends and season ticket holders who visit the Gardens on a very regular basis and many repeat visitors for whom Kew is a place of scientific interest, relaxation and contemplation as well as stunning visual beauty. With over 300 acres, Kew Gardens is home to the largest collection of plants in the world and carries out vital scientific research into plant conservation worldwide. This coupled with Kew's 250 years of history and a rich heritage make the Gardens unique in the world and a worthy owner of World Heritage Site status. Next time, why not take a complimentary guided tour with one of our expert guides to help you uncover all that Kew has to offer?


04/08/2010 12:00:00 AM | Report abuse

In May 2008 I took a lady visitor from the Strand , near Cape Town , and she was very disappointed, and quiet frankly I was ashamed of the displays. the trees were the best part but i can see most of those in my local park. As a further comment an elderly lady friend visited last week with her 3 grown up daughters and they were also disappointed. Question, Do you know how many visitors return?

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