Winter is a time for the natural world to slumber. Bare trees are silhouetted against a wintery sky, colourful blooms fade and wildlife goes into hibernation.
But the pace for Kew’s gardeners doesn’t slow down one bit.
People presume at this time of year the work load eases up. But it’s quite the opposite.
There are many important jobs that need to be carried out during the cold season by Kew’s team of horticulturists, including:
One useful guide for all our winter gardeners is to always have a good pair of waterproofs and a few extra layers of clothing to hand.
During the autumn months, we change over our seasonal displays to put out our hardiest plants that can withstand winter frost and provide colourful flower throughout the spring.
Our bulbs are planted and hunker down ready to explode in the springtime in all shapes, colours and sizes.
In winter, we monitor the progress of our plants, checking for any signs of pests or disease to ensure they are healthy and surviving the changing season.
Traditional and formal displays require a lot of attention throughout the chilly season. So even though our limbs may slow in the cold weather, our attention to detail does not.
Due to the lowering temperatures, the majority of plant life at Kew has already started to prepare for winter.
Deciduous trees have shed their leaves to reveal their great natural architecture.
Geophytes (plants that have an underground storage organ, such as tulips) have returned energy back into their bulbs.
Tubers and bulbs are ready for next year’s growing period.
In general, most outdoor plants slow down to reserve their energy through winter.
Even in the cold winter period, there are many exceptional and beautiful things to see at Kew Gardens. Here are some of the top botanical picks to look out for...
Witch hazel (Hamamelis) bears its weird and wonderful flowers:
Dogwood (Cornus) provides strong structural winter colour:
The exquisite scent of Sarcococca attracts passers-by:
The grasses stand beautifully coated in frost:
Pretty snowdrops (Galanthus) break their winter sleep with stunning white blooms:
If you’re looking for a little warmth this winter, then head to our tropical glasshouse, the Palm House, where you'll find a rainforest climate and a diverse range of extraordinary plants: