Kew celebrates 250 years

Kew Gardens will this year celebrate the 250 years since its inception with a year-long programme of events.

Stephen Hopper, (director of Kew) says: “Our 250th year is a unique chance for us to share Kew’s remarkable heritage and the important contribution we are making to plant conservation.

The Gardens will be looking spectacular – there has been no better time to visit.

  • March heralds the start of the colourful spring season with the largest display of colour in the country – over five million bulbs bring new life bursting in to the gardens with more than 10,000 additional bulbs specially planted for the anniversary year.
  • Kew will deliver a Darwin treasure chest to every state primary school in the UK as part of the nationwide plant science project the Great Plant Hunt
  • Many art exhibitions will be on display throughout spring in the Botanical Art and other Kew galleries.
  • A huge walkable world map in resin-bound glass will contain plants from over 50 countries around the world where Kew is actively engaged in conservation – including Ethopia, South Africa, Mexico and China.
  • In the Autumn, a new 18 metre high walkway will open to give visitors a close-up of the leaves changing colour on sweet chestnuts, limes and oaks.
  • The Marianne North Gallery will also re-open after a lottery-funded restoration project. Marianne North documented over 900 species of plants and her botanical and landscape paintings are housed in this purpose-built gallery, constructed in 1882.

Royal Botanic Kew Gardens is an internationally important botanical research and education institution with 700 staff in addition to being a popular public attraction that receives almost 2 million visitors a year.

It houses the world’s largest collection of living plants: 30,000 different types as well as over 7 million preserved plant specimens. The library contains more than 750,000 volumes, and the illustrations collection contains more than 175,000 prints and drawings of plants.

In 2003, UNESCO added Kew to the list of World Heritage Sites

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