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Cleave, Michelle L.

Job title: 

Botanical Horticulturist

Conservation, Living Collections and Estates
Horticulture, Kew Gardens<br />Hardy Display
Joined Kew: 


Qualifications and appointments: 
  • National Trust Careership (NVQ levels 2,3)
  • RHS General Certificate
  • BA (Hons), Costume/Theatre Design

Responsible for the maintenance of decorative and botanical collections/displays in the Order Beds and Grass garden areas.

Order Beds, also called plant family beds, are a unique feature of botanic gardens. In different gardens the layout and design may vary but their function remains the same: to arrange plants according to their relationships with each other. This creates a feature that is both attractive and informative, allowing students of botany to gain an understanding of plant relationships and garden visitors to see a wide range of plant forms in one location.

Plants that are closely related are grouped together in families and these families are themselves grouped into orders, hence the name Order Beds. The Order Beds are nearing the end of a 4-year reorganisation programme reflecting the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group's latest arrangement of flowering plants (APGIII). Over the past two years existing plants in the beds have been checked, propagated and moved to their new positions. The next phase is to propagate and introduce relevant plants from other areas of Kew and source additional species from other botanic gardens and seed lists.

The present grass garden, located between the Duke’s Garden and the Davies Alpine House, was created in 1982 to showcase some of the world’s 9,000 species of grass. They are some of the world’s most economically important plants, providing us with cereals such as wheat, rice and barley to eat, as well as cattle fodder. Grasses form the basis for many alcoholic drinks and are widely used around the globe for creating structures and providing thatch for buildings.

Selected publications: 



Current projects