Kew has over 250 magnolias across the Gardens with many large trees dating back to the early 1900s. Most are in the Arboretum, but they can also be found by the Main Gate, Victoria Gate and along the Broad Walk.
One of the most magnificent magnolias is the pink tulip tree, or Campbell's magnolia (Magnolia campbellii), which in the Himalayas can reach the heady heights of 50 metres. However, despite its mountainous origins, this magnolia requires some shelter and relies on a relatively mild spring. It can be seen in the Gardens in full flower in early spring between February and April.
This year we celebrate all things magnolia with:
Magnolias - paintings by Barbara Oozeerally
In 2005, the artist embarked on a nine-year project to produce over 150 paintings of magnolias. She travelled widely, working closely with magnolia experts.
All the paintings are life size: every bud, flower, branch, leaf and seed head measured, sketched and colour sample taken in situ.
The exhibition is at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery and is free with admission to the Gardens.
In 2011 seed I collected from Wollemi pines growing at Kew were germinated in our Arboretum nursery, producing dozens of seedlings. Now, two years, on we have lots of new young plants to add to our collections.
This year marks the 250th anniversary of Kew's 'Old Lions'. These magnificent trees are the oldest trees with known dates in the Gardens, dating back to 1762.
With the weather being so unseasonably cold in the UK recently, I thought I'd share with you some botanical warmth down under with the highlights of botanic gardens in Sydney, Perth and Singapore.