Escape to the wonderful world of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew - and learn a thing or two along the way
Despite closing on 22 March, RBG Kew continues to connect people with nature as springtime bursts into bloom.
Release date: 30 March 2020
- Virtual Kew offers inspiring visuals of our world-class living collections together with fun facts and activities for home
- Downloadable learning resources to support teachers, parents and pupils working at home
- A treasure trove of botanical books among the highlights in Kew’s online shop
- Interview opportunities - hear the stories of key staff still working to care for the Gardens
A message from Richard Deverell, Director of Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew:
“In these unprecedented and uncertain times, we want to continue to share the beauty of the plants and landscapes at this time of year with as many people as possible. We encourage anyone who might have visited this springtime, or perhaps have never visited, to explore both our sites virtually. We’ll have daily updates on our digital channels from the brilliant team of key workers who continue to look after our collections, so they are in good shape when we are able to open our doors once again. In the meantime, may I thank everyone for their good wishes and continuing support.”
Digital content: discover the plant heroes of social media
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is sharing daily content on our digital channels, inviting people to escape the confinement of their homes and enter our weird and wonderful world of plants and fungi. From content generated by staff on the ground, up in the treetops and inside the glasshouses, to blogs, beautiful images and videos from both sites, we will try to connect with a community of nature-loving individuals and renew people’s appreciation for the outdoors.
We’ll also have fun phone wallpapers that people can save to their devices, quizzes, relaxing moving images, tips for promoting your wellbeing through nature and for Easter, a fun chocolate takeover week with a focus on cacao.
Teaching resources to help children discover the fascinating science of the plant kingdom
Launched in 2018, Endeavour is a pioneering online resource available to all UK schools. Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, it has been created to inspire the next generation of plant scientists.
Teachers can sign up to the platform here, but while schools are closed and classroom equipment unavailable, RBG Kew’s Learning team has created downloadable resources for teachers to send directly to their pupils for learning at home.
Parents can also access these homework packs for their children if their school isn’t signed up to Endeavour. Each resource is curriculum linked, with introductory videos featuring RBG Kew staff including our scientists, and fun challenges to get pupils thinking creatively about science and the world around them. Downloads available on our website.
The Kew Shop: escape with one of our fascinating reads or botanical homewares
The Kew online shop is a treasure trove of beautiful books, full of inspiration and ideas on gardening, cookery, art, and much, much more. Perfect for quiet days at home, or to gift to friends and family as a pick-me-up.
Our favourite titles at the moment are: Just the Tonic: a Natural History of Tonic Water, to uncover the intriguing history of one of the nation’s favourite mixers; The Kew Gardener's Guide to Growing House Plants, for those of us spending more quality time with our indoor plant friends; and Marianne North: the Kew Collection, a beautiful gift and page-by-page tour of Kew Gardens’ Marianne North Gallery.
What’s still going on at RBG Kew - horticulturists and scientists are hard at work
In the Gardens…
Select staff identified as key workers are coming into the Gardens daily to look after Kew's priceless living plant collections.
In the Tropical Nursery - Kew Gardens’ behind-the-scenes glasshouse and home to some of its rarest species - the team is continuing to work on the task of watering and protecting the health of all 10,000 plants in 21 climate controlled rooms, home to species such as orchids and ferns, as well as cacti and waterlilies.
Outdoors, the Arboretum and Gardens team are committed to ensuring that Kew Gardens’ 14,000 trees, Great Broad Walk Borders, Evolution Garden, Rose Garden, Children’s Garden and other magnificent living landscapes across the 320 acre site are taken care of, by watering, propagating and mulching as needed.
Inside the glasshouses at Kew Gardens, the Horticulture team are hard at work tending to over 50,000 plants from the tropical, temperate and dry regions of the world, that require watering and nutritional care. Keep an eye on the Kew Gardens social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) to catch a glimpse of the teams in action.
In the laboratories (and beyond)...
Whether analysing collections made during field research around the world or sharing data with partners, RBG Kew’s world renowned science department is continuing its vital work to investigate the properties of plants and fungi, to assess their possible human uses and contribute to global conservation efforts like the IUCN Red List.
RBG Kew houses one of the largest and most diverse botanical and mycological collections in the world, so a small selection of scientists identified as key workers will be coming into the Herbarium, Fungarium, and laboratories at Kew Gardens to ensure over eight million specimens are safe and secure. Meanwhile, at Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst in Sussex - the most biodiverse place on our planet - select specialists are working in shifts to ensure the right conditions are in place for the two billion wild plant seeds kept in the sub-zero underground vaults.
RBG Kew’s Digital Collections team are busy working with volunteers from Kew and further afield to transcribe more of our Herbarium specimens, so that they can be digitally accessible to botanists and aspiring scientists across the world. Herbarium specimens possess crucial information for scientific research, and so virtual access to these extraordinary collections is vital.
RBG Kew’s science work remains as important as ever – and our 350 scientists continue to work collaboratively to make an invaluable contribution to solving some of the biggest challenges facing humanity today.
Talk to us: media opportunities to interview our experts
Our Horticulture and Science staff, whether working onsite or remotely at home, continue to look after our collections and carry out critical research. Please contact the RBG Kew press team if you would like to arrange an interview over the phone to learn more about their work. Note, we can not facilitate on site media visits at this time.
Notes to Editors
About Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a world-famous scientific organisation, internationally respected for its outstanding collections as well as its scientific expertise in plant diversity, conservation and sustainable development in the UK and around the world. Kew Gardens is a major international and a top London visitor attraction. RBG Kew’s 132 hectares of landscaped gardens, and Wakehurst, Kew’s Wild Botanic Garden, attract over 2.5 million visits every year. Kew Gardens was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2003 and celebrates its 260th anniversary in 2019. Wakehurst is home to Kew's Millennium Seed Bank, the largest wild plant seed bank in the world. Kew receives approximately one third of its funding from Government through the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and research councils. Further funding needed to support RBG Kew’s vital work comes from donors, membership and commercial activity including ticket sales.