Behind the Scenes at Kew Gardens' Tropical Nursery
Beyond a pair of wrought iron gates near Kew Palace lies the Tropical Nursery, the hidden Gem of Kew Gardens. This is where Kew holds its reserve scientific collections and cultivates plants for use in displays within the Palm, Temperate, Waterlily and Princess of Wales conservatories. The nursery provides facilities for propagating, establishing and growing on plants from various habitats within the world’s tropical and subtropical regions. There are over 45,000 plants held here at any one time and approximately 10,000. The plants are produced to support the public conservatories for educational purposes and may be used for scientific purposes by visiting and Kew scientists.
The nursery covers an area of 6,500m2 and is divided into 21 climatic environments that are separately controlled and monitored by a ‘climatic computer’. These zones are collected under four units: Cacti and Succulents, Moist Tropics, Orchids, plus Temperate and Conservation Collections. The large wide-span complex is heated by nine gas-fired boilers, although not all are used together. The nursery is supplied with water filtered by a process called ‘reverse osmosis’ for irrigation and misting. The water is stored in a large tank potentially holding 60,000 gallons. It passes through an ultra-violet filter before being used.
Fifteen permanent staff work in the Tropical Nursery, supported by up to ten students, apprentices, trainees and 28 horticultural volunteers. Daily maintenance of the collections involves watering, feeding, re-potting plants, and monitoring plant health throughout the year. Then there are regular seasonal jobs. The giant waterlilies start their life here, before being planted out in the Waterlily House for the public to see. And Kew’s specimens of Titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum) rest dormant in the Nursery until they flower and are put on display for visitors to see and smell.
The tour will be led by the Kew’s Nurseries Manager Lara Jewitt. She has worked at Kew for 14 years and been in horticulture for many more. Her area of expertise lays with all tender and tropical plants but she has a real passion for Orchids.
Day Saturday 18 June - 2:00pm
Duration Approx 90 minutes
Meeting Kew Garden - Victoria Gate Entrance
The tour will include free entry into Kew Gardens. Please be aware that the Tropical Nursey will be hot and humid.
To register for the ballot please select whether you would like to apply for one or two places above and complete the required questions. If you would like to apply for two places, please ensure you give both your details as well as the details of the second person who you would like to attend, when you register.
Entry into the ballot assumes acceptance of the following terms & conditions
- Only one entry per person via this website.
- Incomplete, multiple or false entries will not be included in the ballot
- Up to two places on the tour are allocated per person and that will be the person/people named in the ballot entry. You may not pass your place onto any other individual
- Tours are subject to last minute cancellation and /or changes in timing and none of the organisers / parties involved can be held liable for any inconvenience or financial loss should this happen
- The ballot will close on 9 June and winners will be notified that week.
- Places on the tour are randomly chosen from those who have bought complete tickets for the Open Garden Squares Weekend and entered the ballot here.
- The places chosen will be final and no correspondence will be entered into. If you don't hear from us, your ticket number will not have been chosen
- The ballot is not open to employees of the London Parks and Gardens Trust, nor their relatives
- We will not pass your information onto any third parties without permission.
When & Where
Open Garden Squares Weekend
Open Garden Squares Weekend is organised by the London Parks & Gardens Trust.
Open Garden Squares Weekend is run by the London Parks & Gardens Trust to raise awareness of the significant social, cultural, environmental and economic contribution that gardens and squares make to the capital and its inhabitants. The Trust is a resource for education, research, and generates creative projects for the improvement and conservation of London’s green urban spaces. www.londongardenstrust.org