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Lichens benefit from sunscreen

Xanthoria elegans
Wed, 2015-09-02 10:28

Explosion in numbers of lichen species

A new study has revealed that about 100 million years ago there was an explosion in the number of species within the lichen family Teloschistaceae. Such events are believed by evolutionary biologists to be crucial for the formation of the diversity of life on earth. But unusually for such an ancient event, the researchers have been able to pin down the factors that caused it.

Largest orchid in the world flowers at Kew

Grammatophyllum speciosum
Fri, 2015-08-28 15:17

Currently standing 1.5 metres high, the flower spike is growing around 1.5cm a day, with the spike expected to hit an astonishing three metres. Its impressive blooms are expected to last five to six weeks. 

The queen of orchids is grown in Kew’s behind-the-scenes Tropical Nursery. Visitors will be able to go behind the scenes at the Tropical Nursery to view this giant orchid.

Prof Kathy Willis awarded Michael Faraday Prize

Photo of Kathy Willis
Wed, 2015-08-26 14:03

This is a prestigious prize awarded annually to ‘the scientist or engineer whose expertise in communicating scientific ideas in lay terms is exemplary’. Kathy’s award reflects, amongst other things, the BBC radio series last year ‘From Roots to Riches’ and the book of the same name.

New research shows daisies first appeared when dinosaurs walked the Earth

Daisy meadow
Fri, 2015-08-07 18:39

The study of fossil pollen grains by a group of researchers, including Kew scientists, revealed the daisy family, Asteraceae, to be 20 million years older than previously assumed.

Kew Modular Certificate in Tender and Tropical Nursery Practices

Duration:

Option 1 — Moist unit — April to June
Option 2 — Orchid Collections — April to June
Option 3 — Temperate Collections — April to June
Option 4 — Arid unit — April to June

Introduction:

The Tropical Nursery is the tender plant raising and reserve facility for the Garden Nurseries and Display horticulture section. The nursery provides facilities for the propagation, establishment and growing of plants from various habitats encountered within the tropical / subtropical regions. These plants are produced to support the public conservatories, for educational purposes, conservation and for scientific reasons by Kew and visiting scientists.

The nursery covers an area of 6500 m2 and is divided into 21 climatic zones. These zones are distributed into four units – Arid unit, Moist unit, Orchids and Temperate Unit. The nursery contains approx. 44,000 plants and is one of the world’s most diverse plant collections, including plants threatened with extinction.

Options available:

Option 1 - Moist unit

The eight environments that comprise this unit cover a wide range of tropical and subtropical plants. The main collection of plants are Araceae, Bromeliaceae, Marantaceae, Zingiberaceae, Begoniaceae, Piperaceae, Gesnariaceae, Passifloraceae, aquatic plants, tropical and temperate ferns and tropical conservation island flora. Within the unit we propagate plant material for the tropical glasshouse.

During this period skills learned will include:

  • manual irrigation specific to individual plants
  • manual fertilisation, mixing feeds, monitoring conductivity and monitoring for nutrition deficiencies
  • monitoring for optimal plant health and horticultural standards
  • pruning, staking and flower development
  • potting requirements for individual species
  • propagation methods including those specific to each nursery unit
  • cultivation of epiphytic plants

Option 2 - Orchid Collections

Orchids have been cultivated at Kew for more than two centuries, it is one of the oldest and most comprehensive living collections in the world.

The Orchid unit is comprised of 5 controlled environments, replicating different climates from the Andean highlands to the tropical lowlands.

The collection comprises of over 300 genera and 2,600 species, with over 9,000 orchids been grown at one time.

The largest genera are Paphiopedilum, Dendrobium, Cattleya, Cymbidium, Bulbophyllum, Oncidium, Encylcia, Pleurothallis.

During this period skills learned will include:

  • manual irrigation specific to individual plants
  • manual fertilisation, mixing feeds, monitoring conductivity and monitoring for nutrition deficiencies
  • monitoring for optimal plant health and horticultural standards
  • pruning, staking and flower development
  • potting requirements for individual species
  • propagation methods including those specific to each nursery unit
  • cultivation of epiphytic plants

Option 3 - Temperate Collections

The different environments that comprise this unit covers a wide range of plants from temperate collections to temperate and tropical carnivorous plants and temperate conservation island flora. Within the unit we propagate all the woody plant material for the tropical glasshouses and all the plant material for temperate glasshouses.

During this period skills learned will include:

  • manual irrigation specific to individual plants
  • manual fertilisation, mixing feeds, monitoring conductivity and monitoring for nutrition deficiencies
  • monitoring for optimal plant health and horticultural standards
  • pruning, staking and flower development
  • potting requirements for individual species
  • propagation methods including those specific to each nursery unit
  • cultivation of epiphytic plants

Option 4 - Arid Unit

The three environments that comprise this unit covers all cacti and succulent collections, including South Africa flora.

The main collections of plants are Cactaceae, Euphorbiaceae, Compositae, Apocynaceae, Asparagaceae, Aizoaceae, Xanthorrhoeaceae.

During this period skills learned will include:

  • manual irrigation specific to individual plants
  • manual fertilisation, mixing feeds, monitoring conductivity and monitoring for nutrition deficiencies
  • monitoring for optimal plant health and horticultural standards
  • pruning, staking and flower development
  • potting requirements for individual species
  • propagation methods including those specific to each nursery unit
  • cultivation of epiphytic plants

Underpinning knowledge:

Whilst undertaking one of the options for the Kew Modular Certificate in Tender/Tropical Nursery Practices, the following areas of underpinning knowledge will be delivered via a series of walks/talks, handouts and individual research.

  • Pest and disease control
  • Growing media’s
  • Climate control systems
  • Vegetative propagation
  • Seed sowing
  • Pollination and seed storage
  • Collection management

Underpinning knowledge will for the most part be specific to both plants and growing conditions within either the Moist unit, Orchid Collections, Temperate Collections or Arid unit.

Course work:

Candidates will be required to undertake an in-depth Horticultural Management report on an area within their chosen option.

Eligibility:

Candidates must have at least 6 months of practical experience in a professional horticultural environment and be able to communicate in both written and spoken English.

In order to attend these courses at Kew, students from outside the European Economic Area will need to apply for a visa from the UK Border Agency to enter the UK.

Cost and Application:

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