American Prairie

Exciting changes are afoot. We are creating a six-acre American landscape inspired by sweeping prairies and vibrant grasslands.

Eryngium yuccifolium

We are transforming the heart of our landscape into a sea of delicate movement and beauty. 

Walking down from the Mansion, you will be transported to a prairie-like grassland evoking the vast and iconic North American wild plant communities.

Your gaze will stretch out across Wakehurst, where stunning views of the Water Garden and Coronation Meadow will be revealed, having been hidden since the 1930s.

A proportion of plants will be raised from seeds wild-collected by our horticulturists and Kew scientists.

Wander through little bluestem grass and a rich spring carpet of purple Camassia. Explore an immersive landscape, studded with richly coloured echinacea, blazing star, butterfly weed and bergamot. 

Baptisia australis and Zizia aurea
Baptisia australis and Zizia aurea Credit: Wayne Lee

Planting the world 

As a botanic garden, we plant phytogeographically, meaning the plants are grouped according to where they grow in the world. 

The American Prairie will be a floral complement to our extraordinary North American woodland, Horsebridge Wood. 

Our climate and soil are particularly suited to the beautiful plant communities of the prairies, and we are excited to introduce them to Wakehurst's gardens. 

The Millennium Seed Bank collaborates closely with conservation partners in North America. Through this landscape, we have a unique opportunity to share our knowledge and resource through a living collection.

How this new landscape will unfold

The American Prairie will be created through a set of ecological processes encouraging a new plant community to establish and thrive.

In the beginning, there won't be much to see. As with all things worth waiting for, it will take time before the area begins to flourish. 

The ground needs to prepared with bare soil and there will be fallow ground for the first year.

Following a complex programme of plant community creation, we will sow layers of new plants and allow each to establish. We will manage their growth by mimicking wild stresses and disturbances.

Every time you visit, you will witness a new stage of change, continuing Wakehurst's evolution as a botanic garden.

More to see at Wakehurst

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