Woodland Glade and Waterlily Pond
History and planting
In this part of Kew's Arboretum, oaks, hornbeam and beech trees provide shade and protection for young maples. The underplanted shrubs, including rhododendrons, camellias, magnolias and choice plants like Calycanthus sinensis, provide colour in spring and summer.
In the early 20th century, pollution took its toll on the Arboretum but since the 1970s the tree collection has been strengthened greatly. Emphasis is now placed on gathering material of known origin, preferably directly from the wild.
Kew staff have taken part in many collecting expeditions overseas including trips to South Korea (1982 and 1989), Chile (1985), China (1985 to 2003), Turkey (1989), Taiwan (1992) and Japan (1998).
Close to the Woodland Glade on the south of Cedar Vista, the Waterlily Pond is a tranquil spot to take a rest. It is planted with waterlilies and irises, and bounded by shrubs such as peonies.
The surrounding trees include several young maidenhair trees (Ginkgo biloba), swamp cypress (Taxodium distichum) and an impressive dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides), one of the original introductions to the West.
The dawn redwood was only recognized in 1941 when a forester from the National Central University in Beijing, China, came across a strange new tree growing in a tiny village in Szechuan. Five years later, the tree was found to belong to the genus Metasequoia. It had hitherto only been known from fossil evidence dating back 100 million years, and was thought to have been extinct for five million years.
Wildlife inhabiting the pond includes nesting moorhens and coots, and emperor dragonflies.