25 July 2019

Royal visit to the Millennium Seed Bank

The Prince of Wales returned to the Millennium Seed Bank after nearly 20 years to see the important scientific work being carried out there.

By Sandra Howard

HRH The Prince of Wales visits Wakehurst's Coronation Meadow

Wakehurst had the honour of welcoming The Prince of Wales back to the Millennium Seed Bank (MSB), nearly 20 years after he opened the stunning glass building.

He returned to see the value and progress of the work being carried out at this vital hub for scientific activity.

First stop was our specially-curated Surviving or Thriving exhibition in the MSB, which brings Kew's State of the World’s Plants reports to life. Games, film, sound, models and a futuristic garden tell the story of why some plants are only surviving, while others are thriving.

HRH The Prince of Wales at State of the World's plants exhibition
HRH The Prince of Wales at State of the World's plants exhibition, Jim Holden © RBG Kew
HRH The Prince of Wales at State of the World's plants exhibition
HRH The Prince of Wales at State of the World's plants exhibition, Jim Holden © RBG Kew

The underground seed vault contains deep freeze chambers to store seeds at a temperature of -20°C.  The MSB has the capacity to house 75 per cent of the world’s storable seeds and is currently home to over 2.3 billion seeds, representing over 40,000 different species. 

Scientists in the MSB are also working on the Crop Wild Relatives project, which studies the wild seed of the world's most popular crops and will help protect food sources for future generations. 

HRH The Prince of Wales visits the Millennium Seed Bank
HRH The Prince of Wales visits the Millennium Seed Bank, Jim Holden © RBG Kew
HRH The Prince of Wales visits the Millennium Seed Bank
HRH The Prince of Wales visits the Millennium Seed Bank, Jim Holden © RBG Kew

Wakehurst's nursery and propagation area is where we propagate species for the future. Our science and horticulture teams work together grow and nurture plants right from seed. 

Some of the plants we grow are critically endangered, and may never have been grown in this way before. We try to grow them in an environment that's as similar to the one where they were naturally found. 

 

HRH The Prince of Wales visits the nursery and propagation area
HRH The Prince of Wales visits the nursery and propagation area, Jim Holden © RBG Kew
HRH The Prince of Wales visits the nursery and propagation area
HRH The Prince of Wales visits the nursery and propagation area, Jim Holden © RBG Kew

Our Children's Heritage Garden is a space where children can explore the touch and smell of plants.

Kids can get their hands dirty in the mud kitchen, grow their very own seeds in the potting shed, and discover how veg grows in the vegetable garden.

HRH The Prince of Wales meets school children at Wakehurst
HRH The Prince of Wales meets school children at Wakehurst, Jim Holden © RBG Kew

Full of native flowers and grasses, Coronation Meadow was created in 2015 as a response to The Prince of Wales’ call for new wildflower meadows to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Coronation.

Coronation Meadow is part of a long-term research project with the University of Sussex to measure and evaluate grassland restoration.The techniques we’re using here will inform how future meadows are restored.

HRH The Prince of Wales visits Wakehurst's Coronation Meadow
HRH The Prince of Wales visits Wakehurst's Coronation Meadow, Jim Holden © RBG Kew

Explore Wakehurst

Roam across our 500 acres of wild and wonderful woodland or delve underground to explore the Millennium Seed Bank.

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