The Royal Botanic Gardens in London, England is a sight to behold for those who love the idea of strolling through a picturesque British garden. Also called Kew Gardens, this sprawling area of greenery can trace its roots all the way back to 1759, when King George III’s mother, Princess Augusta, founded a 9-acre garden in Kew. The current garden stretches across 300 acres, and even has its own police force, the Kew Constabulary!
Today, we take a look at some of the amazing facts about the Kew Gardens, and some ideas of what to explore if you decide to visit!
You can take a virtual walk around the gardens
Like many public places at the moment, the gardens are currently closed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still take a virtual walk around them! With the magic that is the internet, you can take a stroll around the gardens without even leaving your room, how cool is that?! There are a bunch of walkthrough videos available on the Gardens’ YouTube channel, including a tour of the Palm House, and of the 10 different climates of the Princess of Wales Conservatory. Check them out for your daily dose of pretty plants.
The Arboretum has 14,000 trees
The Arboretum spans two-thirds of the Kew Gardens, and features more than 2,000 species of trees. Some of these trees are rare and ancient, and many of them can’t be found in any other location within Britain. Arboretum quite literally translates to ‘a place with trees’ in Latin, so it’s definitely named appropriately! The trees that can be found while strolling through the Arboretum include heritage trees such as the Japanese pagoda tree and the black locust tree, might oaks like the weeping beech and chestnut-leaved oak, and giant redwoods that can be found in Redwood Grove, such as the 40-metre-tall coastal redwood.
There’s a canopy walkway!
For all those who love the idea of having a birds eye view of the Gardens, there’s the treetop walkway. Standing 18 metres above the ground, the walkway allows visitors to go on a 200-metre walk amongst the trees, for a stunning, unique view of nature. But be aware, the structure sways when it’s windy, so it’s probably not for those of us who are afraid of heights!
It has one of the largest collections of preserved plant and fungi specimens in the world
Kew Gardens is home to a vast collection of plants and fungi called the Science Collection. This collection includes the Herbarium which features 7 million pressed plant specimens, the Fungarium which incudes 1.25 million specimens of dried fungi, along with 1,000 fungai cultures in liquid nitrogen, and the Seed Collection, which contains 86,000 collections and more than 2 billion seeds. There is also a DNA and Tissue Bank, which has 48,000 samples of plant genomic DNA along with 10,000 tissue samples. The Science Collections Strategy 2018-2028 includes the digitisation of Kew’s 8.5 million science collections, along with the plan to make all data and images available through the company’s online portals.
Kew Gardens is a stunning place for plant lovers, and now with the magic of the internet, you can check it out from the comfort of your own couch! There’s so much happening in these gardens, and we hope you have enjoyed learning a little bit about the amazing features they have on offer. For more information, check out the Kew Gardens website here!