Dear Guild Member,
The Kew Guild President, Alan Stuttard, requests the pleasure of your company at the Kew Guild Annual Dinner to be held at Cambridge Cottage, 37 Kew Green, TW9 3AB on Thursday 25th May 2017.
The Dinner provides the perfect opportunity to renew old friendships, make new friends, catch up on news, and meet the current Kew Diploma students and Guild Committee members.
In addition, all day free admission to Kew Gardens has been agreed for attendees, along with early entry to Cambridge Cottage, arranged, from 5.30pm for those wishing to meet up with friends and maybe have a pre-dinner drink.
The principal Guest of Honour and speaker this year will be Richard Barley, Director of Horticulture, Learning and Operations at RBG Kew. Richard joined Kew in 2013 after ten years in the post of Director of Melbourne Botanic Gardens, giving him a full understanding of world class Botanical Gardens. He is a strong advocate for the need to balance a quality horticultural visitor experience with the management of renowned and important scientific living collections.
At the dinner we will also see the Kew Guild Medal being presented to Chris Beardshaw. Chris is an award-winning British gardener, multi Gold Medal winner at the Chelsea Flower Show and well known Radio and TV presenter, who is perhaps best known for his work on the BBC’s long-running television series Gardener’s world.
We are lucky to have these two speakers whose presence promises to provide such interesting thoughts on the diverse world of horticulture.
The President, with the assistance of our previous Treasurer Jennifer Alsop, has arranged a menu with an excellent selection of courses for you to choose when applying for your tickets. Dinner will commence at 7.00pm and there will be a cash bar, cash only, for you to purchase drinks throughout the evening from 5.30pm. To allow attendees to arrange their own seating arrangements with friends at the tables, there will be no reserved seating.
Once again, to round off the evening, the current students will organise a cash raffle to provide much needed financial support to the student travel arrangements, which is such an important part of their course. It is expected that the evening will conclude at 11.00pm.
Any member requiring financial assistance to facilitate attendance at the Dinner should contact Awards Scheme Chairman, Chris Kidd in confidence by email – firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday 10th April.
We look forward to meeting you all at what again will be an excellent occasion for the Kew Guild.
Alan Stuttard, President 2016-17
Please click here to download the Annual Dinner Form and Menu
Kew celebrated its Grow Wild initiative being voted the UK’s Best Environment Project in the National Lottery Awards on TV in September 2016.
Staff and volunteers from Grow Wild were joined on the red carpet by celebrities such as John Barrowman, Katie Derham and many of Team GB’s National Lottery funded Olympic heroes, as they accepted their award.
Millions of TV viewers saw the project recognised for its inspirational work. Grow Wild is the UK’s biggest-ever wild flower campaign, bringing people together to transform local spaces with native, pollinator-friendly wild flowers and plants. Grow Wild is the national outreach initiative of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Grow Wild celebrated its win of the Best Environment Project in the National Lottery Awards 2016 with staff from across Kew Gardens and local Grow Wild funded community groups from London.
After the Kew staff talks from the Director of Kew, Grow Wild had a surprise in store for their colleagues all across Kew Gardens. Inviting everyone to join them on board the iconic Kew Explorer, along with members of local Grow Wild community projects, they embarked upon a victory lap of the Gardens with the iconic National Lottery Award trophy! The first stop was The Great Broad Walk Boarders for another surprise – a glass of bubbly!
The celebrations are well earned – not only has Grow Wild had success in the National Lottery Awards this year, it has also funded hundreds of fantastic community projects and distributed over a million packets of native wild flower seeds for free.
Independent research conducted online and in focus groups by Forest Research (the research agency of the Forestry Commission) clearly shows the incredible impact that the programme has made all over the UK. Grow Wild has boosted community co-operation and inspired people to do something positive for nature where they live.
Guests who rode the Explorer with us included young volunteers from Stand Up Garden. Project participant, Liam, said: “We wanted to work on a project that gave us a connection to the community, get us off our phones and participate in something different. If young people help construct their local community, they care more and are less likely to ruin it.”
Richard Deverell, RBG Kew Director, said: “The really great thing about Grow Wild is that it allows us to visit people in every area of the UK, who would never visit Kew Gardens or Wakehurst. So we’ve connected wonderfully diverse communities, across the length and breadth of this country, with wild flowers, with biodiversity. They’ve been touched by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and that simply wouldn’t have happened without Grow Wild.”
Philip Turvil, Grow Wild Programme Manager, said: “Thanks to the National Lottery, over three million people have come together across the UK – changing lives and transforming spaces with wild flowers, all through Grow Wild projects led by Kew Gardens. This award is an incredible recognition; a horticultural thumbs up to all our wonderful groups and volunteers on the ground and online. More people are now growing the native wild flowers upon which so much of our lives depend for pollinators and colour.”
John Barrowman, who presented the TV show for the seventh year, added: “The National Lottery Awards celebrate the UK’s favourite Lottery-funded projects as voted for by the public. They recognise the legends behind these amazing organisations – ordinary people who do extraordinary things with National Lottery funding.”
Grow Wild was awarded Best Environment Project in the National Lottery Awards 2016 after gaining an absolutely incredible 23,493 votes. Thank you so much to everybody who voted!
Find out more
Find out more about Grow Wild at growwilduk.com and @GrowWildUK on Twitter/Facebook
The Orangery lit up with colour, laughter and wild flower fun for the first ever Grow Wild awards, an opportunity to bring together Grow Wild volunteers, groups, partners and supporters in one of Kew’s most iconic venues. Grow Wild is the national outreach initiative of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, supported by the Big Lottery Fund. They bring communities together to sow, grow and enjoy UK native wild flowers. The awards celebrated the most innovative, creative and impactful projects and groups from all over the UK.
The winners of the Grow Wild Awards 2016 (held 21st October 2016) were:
– Phytology (Best Innovation in England, presented by Grow Wild Partnership Manager for Northern Ireland, Stephanie Baine)
– Wild About The Hillfoots (Best Innovation in Scotland, presented by Grow Wild Partnership Manager for England, Richard Pollard)
– Meadow Champions (Best Innovation in Wales, presented by Grow Wild Partnership Manger for Scotland, Claire Bennett)
– Eufloria (Best Innovation in Northern Ireland, presented by Grow Wild Partnership Manager for Wales, Maria Golightly)
– Coplaw Street Community Garden (Community Project to Make the Greatest Community Impact, presented by Chair of the Big Lottery Fund, Peter Ainsworth)
– Include Us Too (Community Project with Best Youth Involvement, presented by RBG Kew’s Head of Learning and Participation, Julia Willison)
– Flowers of Foyle (Best Transformation of a Space in a Community Project, presented by RBG Kew’s Director of Horticulture Richard Barley)
– City To Sea (Best Use of Promotion by a Community Project, presented by Grow Wild Programme Manager, Philip Turvil)
– You’ll Miss Me When I’m Gone (Best Youth ‘Get Creative’ Project, presented by Grow Wild youth volunteer Sunny Hassan)
– Stepping Stones(Best Transformation of a Space by a Youth Project, presented by National Lottery Community Partner from Camelot, Natasha Stonebridge
– Yorkshire Ambulance Service(Best Use of Seed Kits in a Workplace, presented by Grow Wild Lead Partnership Manager, Tim Owen)
– Wildflower Alley (Best Use of Seed Kits by a Charity or Community, presented by Grow Wild Marketing Campaigns Manager, Nikki Mugford)
Text/Photos Courtesy Philip Turvil – Grow Wild Programme Manager
All Kew Guild members, spouses and friends are cordially invited to join us for a day or the weekend in Dorset and Hampshire with visits to Compton Acres and Exbury Gardens.
On Saturday 13th we visit Compton Acres in Poole, Dorset
Over coffee, Mary Payne and Peter Thoday will explain the garden’s history and provide information about their involvement with developments completed in recent years before taking us on a tour of the garden. On our return, over a sandwich lunch, members will have time to chat and discuss any further points with our hosts. After lunch the group is free to re-visit the garden, the plant centre and shop or arrange to visit other local attractions. A deposit of £10 per person will be required.
An evening meal is being arranged at the Cumberland Hotel, 27 East Overcliff Drive, Bournemouth BH1 3AF in the Ventana Grand Cafe. Details about the hotel and menus are available on their website www.cumberlandbournemouth.co.uk A deposit of £5 per person will be required for Dinner.
On Sunday 14th May we visit Exbury Gardens in Hampshire
We will be delighted to meet our host Lionel de Rothschild who will introduce us to Exbury Gardens which were the inspiration of his grandfather Lionel Nathan de Rothschild. He has agreed to show us around the gardens which should prove to be an enlightening tour as he will have many stories about the plants and gardens to share with us. Head Gardener, Thomas Clarke is also planning to be with us. Members will have the opportunity to see Exbury from a different perspective as we ride the train.
A deposit of £16.25 per person will be required.
Please note that there is a limited number of places available for these visits so booking is essential. Interest is expected to be high so bookings will be taken on a first come basis, it is suggested that members respond speedily to avoid any disappointment.
Once applications are received, those that have been successful will be advised directly by email with the final programme details for the events.
Enjoy the weekend in Bournemouth which has a range of accommodation options to suit all preferences, the Cumberland is an interesting art deco hotel and offers good deals which can be obtained by contacting the hotel directly.
Closing date for applications is 3rd April 2017
Please click here to download the application form: dorset-weekend-may-2017
Please note – This is a third-party event, out of the Kew Guild’s control. Visitors should check details with the organisers.
Hever Castle & Gardens | Hever | Edenbridge | Kent TN8 7NG
01732 865224 | hevercastle.co.uk
Hever Castle & Gardens in Kent will be hosting their first ever Tulip Celebration in April and May 2017. The eleven-strong gardening team at Hever Castle in Kent are gearing up for their inaugural Tulip Celebration. Visitors to the brand new event at the Castle in Kent will be able to enjoy a tulip trail either self-guided or with Hever’s head gardener Neil Miller and marvel at the 7,000 tulips, in 60 varieties planted along the Pergola Walk, Pompeiian Wall, Tudor Garden and Italian Garden.
The tulip has been beloved by the Italians since the 1500s so it’s perhaps fitting that the dramatic Italian Garden at Hever will play host to the largest of the tulip planting displays. This part of the garden was designed and built in 1904-1908 to showcase William Waldorf Astor’s unique collection of statuary and sculpture which stretches to 200 pieces, some of them over 2,000 years old.
Inspired by the gardens of the Italian Renaissance, the design of the Italian Garden includes the Pompeiian Wall, which stretches for an eighth of a mile and is divided into bays or ‘rooms’ depicting a different scene of the ruin of Pompeii following the eruption of Vesuvius. The tulips with their vivid colouring will be planted in formal block colours with each of the ten Pompeiian scenes showcasing a single coloured tulip.
The grottoes and fountains of the Pergola Walk on the opposite, southern side, of the garden, will also provide an impressive backdrop for the thousands of tulips planted in a kaleidoscope of pinks, purples and yellows.
Speaking about the new event, head gardener Neil Miller says: “the whole team have caught tulip fever and excitement is growing as we approach our first ever Tulip Celebration at the Castle. The tulip is the ultimate in elegance – standing to attention they look spectacular planted en masse in either a kaleidoscope of mixed colours or in uniform. Lots of plants have a limited colour palette but the tulip comes in every colour from purple to green.
“We have planted 3,500 tulips around the Castle walls themselves using ‘Orange Lion’ interplanted with Erysimum ‘Vulcan’ a dwarf variety of wallflower with velvety crimson flowers. The Italian Garden will look stunning with 2,000 tulips planted in wonderful formal displays including some unusual green varieties such as ‘Spring Green’ (white with a green stripe), ‘Evergreen’ (green with a yellow stripe) and ‘Green Jay’.”
Neil Miller says: “We have completed the planting of most of the 7,000 bulbs and will be protecting the pots and troughs from squirrels by using chicken wire and we will maintain a watching brief in the Italian Garden during the winter months to try to stay one step ahead of the little blighters!”
Tulips with a talking point such as ‘Ice Cream’ with its peony-like flower will be planted in troughs and pots and displayed in the rotundas and on the Castle forecourt.
The team, led by Neil Miller will also experiment with the husbandry of a couple of the bulbs. Neil Miller adds: “we will run a couple of experiments with bulbs we are planting in pots by dunking them in paraffin before planting them to see if this deters the squirrels! We have also chosen some wacky coloured bulbs, some bronzy ones and more avant-garde stripy blooms to feature as talking points around the areas that visitors congregate such as the restaurant and forecourt. We have also planted up the bed in front of the Yew Maze in the shape of a tulip.”
The interior of the Castle itself will be dressed with tulips by talented in-house florist Pamela Brise.
It could be said that Hever Castle & Gardens is the perfect place for a Tulip Celebration because its most famous occupants Anne Boleyn and later Anne of Cleves would have been resident as the tulip bulb made its arrival into Europe via Turkey.
All images credited to: Hever Castle & Gardens
Announcement courtesy of Vikki Rimmer
RHS scents Tijana Blanusca – Courtesy of Vikki Rimmer
The application of science: plant selection for a positive environment
A look at how choosing the right plant for the right space can help make our spaces more environmentally friendly and actively ‘service’ the immediate environment.
Plant selection and the mantra ‘right plant, right place’ has been a topic of much discussion for garden designers over the last few years as biodiversity requirements have become increasingly important. Science has a role to play in this discussion and could also provide an interesting added dimension when compiling planting plans.
Ahead of Palmstead Nurseries ‘What have plants ever done for us?’ workshop last September, we spoke to Dr Tijana Blanusa, a speaker at the conference and a leading RHS scientist working out of the University of Reading. Dr Blanusa’s work looks at the impact of vegetation in towns and cities, in particular the effect of vegetation on lowering atmospheric pollution, providing cooling and rainfall mitigation.
How can the application of science help designers in their quest to select the right plant for the right place?
My work is a very applicable science, it looks at how you can provide environmental benefits by choosing plants that would maximise the provision of localised cooling, species that help to absorb excess rainfall and in terms of pollution, choosing plants that effectively remove pollutant particles from the air.
How a plant ‘adds’ to our environment in terms of benefits such as ‘cooling’, ‘water capture’ ‘sequestration of pollution’ and ‘biodiversity support’ is becoming increasingly important as people migrate further to urban environments.
If we are to look at the element of science as the added 4th dimension when we select plants, what do we need to know?
Not all plants are the same and science can help us look at the difference in how they function, and how their structure can work positively or negatively. If we take trees as an example and look at the surface of the leaf and how it ‘takes up’ the gases in the environment we can see that if you chose a more active plant, with more ‘openings’ in the leaves then it has a potential to take up more pollutant gasses such as carbon monoxide, ozone or nitrous oxides.
Do specific types of plants help more than others?
In very simplified terms, one can liken plants to humans: you can have slow and sluggish people and you can have some that are full of energy. If you want a plant that will help take up pollutants better or take up more rainfall from a saturated soil, then it’s good to chose the ones with lots of energy and activity. Examples of active trees are those with large canopies and leaves with lots of structure and ‘pipework’. The London Plane has a large leaf area and rough hairs that also trap pollutant particles well. Conifers such as Thuja and Leyland can also be good candidates for trapping particulates from the air.
Are there ‘downsides’ to these choices?
There are of course other factors to include in plant selection, such as the cost of maintenance; an energetic or active plant may have a higher maintenance cost, especially if a choice is made to select a species such as a Leyland (for its pollution sucking qualities!)
What would you like to see garden designers and landscape architects think about when they chose plants/trees in urban environments?
I am a scientist first and foremost so I wouldn’t say – you must chose the London Plane because it behaves like this, instead I would point to how it behaves, the size of its canopy, what the fine hairs do and point to what the tree can do to provide those various benefits. The designer could then look to similar species. There may be a choice that is less allergenic. I would also say that ’more is better’ and to avoid mono-cultures and go for diversity. It’s good to see designers who are playful, using more than one thing, thinking about perennials and mixing things up.
Why is this topic growing in importance?
Living in increasingly urban areas, we see our neighbours paving over their gardens, leaving high water levels underneath – which cannot be good long term. We need to keep talking about the issue of providing multiple benefits within the environment so that it becomes natural. Today, you don’t think twice about seeing an unmown meadow – you know it’s a good diverse space whereas ten years ago people might have said ‘that’s untidy’.
Who are your landscape architect and design heroes?
As a scientist, I look for things that are practical and ‘do-able’. I’m also attracted to designs that appear young at heart. Often it’s the lesser known people who have the courage and willingness to experiment and bring scientific principles to life. I like to see something that has practical purpose at its core but is a firework of energy and imagination, colours and textures and various types of plants. Great plants people know what they are doing but they also listen to advice and aren’t set in their ways.
Is there a definitive list we can follow?
As a scientist I more comfortable sharing what the key findings are to the best of our knowledge; that is not to say that five years down the line we may find a new subtlety – science moves all the time. Plants people have various criteria that they have to meet if the garden/space is to succeed – if the client doesn’t like the plants then you’ve lost it! I’m trying to add a fourth dimension which comes after you have put the budget together, after the aesthetics and site requirements. Our work is progressing so that in the future it can help designers to find a plant in the RHS Plant Finder that will tick all of the boxes – being affordable, aesthetic, suitable for the space and also beneficial to the environment.
Tijana Blanusa (Principal Horticultural Scientist) obtained her BSc (Crop Science) and MSc (Plant Physiology) from the University of Belgrade. She joined the RHS after completing her PhD in Plant Physiology (East Malling Research / Lancaster University) in 2003. She is based at the University of Reading where she works in the Centre for Horticulture and Landscape and collaborates with other departments and external organisations (University of Sheffield and Imperial College London; Universities of Siena and Bologna, Italy; University of Belgrade, Serbia).
Her research interests lie in understanding the interaction between plants and the environment – how the changing environment, such as drying soil and elevated temperatures, affects plants, and how plants moderate the environment around them. She runs several projects investigating the contribution of green roofs and walls, garden hedges and other forms of green infrastructure to the moderation of air temperatures, capture of excess rainwater and aerial pollutants.
Kew gardener 1881. Curator, Botanic Gardens, Hull, 1882. On botanical exploration to Central America. In India 1887. To Victoria, Australia, 1888. Curator, Brisbane Botanic Gardens, 1889. Director of Forests, Queensland, 1905.
b. Dublin, Ireland, 13 December 1857; d. Fraser Island, Queensland, Australia, 14 April 1911
MacMahon left Ireland to work for a large agency in Chester, before gaining a studentship to the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in 1881. Upon the recommendation of Kew’s Director, Joseph Hooker, he was appointed as curator to the Botanic Gardens at Hull in March 1882.
After serving five years in Yorkshire (during which time he visited central America) he went on to work in tropical agriculture in India. In 1888 he moved to Melbourne, Australia, where he first worked as a journalist for the newspaper, the Daily Telegraph. In April 1889 he was appointed curator of the Brisbane Botanic Gardens, Queensland, the position later being upgraded to director.
Writing extensively during his sixteen years’ service at the Botanic Gardens, he made a significant contribution to Queensland horticulture. On 1 November 1905 he was appointed Director of Forests, Queensland. While inspecting Fraser Island he was taken ill suddenly and died.
He ‘combined with a keen interest in scientific horticulture the poetic temperament, a lively imagination, and a ready tongue’.
Desmond, R. (1994), Dictionary of British and Irish Botanists and Horticulturists, Taylor & Francis & The Natural History Museum, London, p. 458.
‘W.’ (1912), In Memoriam, Philip MacMahon, Journal of The Kew Guild for 1911, p. 49, portrait facing p. 47.
Kew gardener, 1857. Collector of cinchona and rubber. To Ecuador for Cinchona, 1859; Panama for Castilla, 1875; Brazil for Hevea, 1876.
b. Dumbarton, West Dunbartonshire, 1836; d. Torrance, Stirlingshire, 1 March 1911
Robert Cross entered Kew as a gardener in June 1857 and left in 1859. He came to play a major role in the initiatives to establish cinchona and rubber in eastern Asian countries. In 1859 the India Office requested Kew to assist in the establishment of Cinchona succirubra, ‘Red Bark’ or Peruvian Bark’, the source of antimalarial quinine, in India. In 1859, recommended by William Hooker, Cross was selected to join Yorkshire botanist Richard Spruce on an expedition to Ecuador to collect it. Delayed by illness and a local war, they eventually reached the foothills of the Andes in 1860 and collected more than 100 000 ripe seeds (which were despatched to Kew) and more than six hundred cuttings and seedlings. Cross was responsible for the safe passage of the young plants (in Wardian cases) to Britain, which included a hazardous trip by mule and raft to the coast. Plants were then sent to India, and by 1880 some 15 000 acres were in cultivation there. The Botanic Garden at Peradeniya in Ceylon also established a mountain nursery at Hakgala solely for cinchona, and Kew sent a gardener, Mr M’Nicoll, to take charge of it.
Following this success, Cross was re-employed for further expeditions to Central and South America. Over the next ten years he made four more trips. He collected Cinchona officinalis in Loxa, then on three visits to Pitaya collected Pitayo Cinchona. He was then involved with collecting from rubber trees.
Now chosen by Joseph Hooker, in 1875 Cross left for Central America seeking Castilla elastica. Before the adoption of Hevea this was considered to provide the best rubber. On the return voyage the ship carrying Cross and his 600 plants ran onto a reef off the coast of Jamaica. While most passengers were taken off, Cross stuck by his plants and was eventually taken on board HMS Dryad. Sadly none of the 7000 seeds collected germinated, but his cuttings flourished at Kew and were distributed to West Africa, Ceylon, India and Java.
In 1876, again supported by Joseph Hooker, he sailed to Pará, Brazil, for Hevea brasiliensis, the source of the best natural rubber, returning five months later with just over a thousand seedlings. On this trip he worked with a trader in rubber, Henry Wickham. Four hundred seedlings were retained at Kew, with about a hundred of these plants going on to Ceylon, the country considered to be the most suitable in South Asia for the propagation and distribution of rubber to India and Burma. He also brought back some 40 plants of Ceara Rubber, Manihot glaziovii.
In all, Cross made seven trips to South America but his health, like that of Spruce, suffered from service in that region. He was said to be of a retiring nature, ‘a typical Scotsman, with grit’, who penetrated parts of Panama that even the native people were afraid to enter because of its supposed deadly climate.
The Goods Inwards and Outwards lists of plants sent to and from Kew, held in the Kew Archives, contain multiple entries for Robert Cross, e.g.
Goods Inwards 1859–1867 f. 92: ‘Mr R. Cross of Mr Spruce’s Cinchona Expedition. 6 plants C. Succirubra – the smallest selected from the 15 Wardian cases, which were forwarded to India to day.’
Goods Inwards 1868–1872 f. 313: ‘From Mr Cross. 6 plants of Cinchona.’
Anonymous (1912), In memoriam, Robert MacKenzie Cross, Journal of The Kew Guild 1911, pp. 51–52.
Desmond, R. (1992), The European Discovery of the Indian Flora, Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Desmond, R. (1994), Dictionary of British and Irish Botanists and Horticulturists, Taylor & Francis, & The Natural History Museum, London, p. 180.
Markham, C. (1880), Peruvian Bark : A Popular Account of the Introduction of Chinchona Cultivation into British India : 1860–1880, John Murray, London.
Rocco, F. (2003), The Miraculous Fever-Tree: Malaria, Medicine and the Cure that Changed the World, HarperCollins, London.
In the autumn of 2016 the Kew Guild received an invitation from the Master of the Household at Buckingham Palace indicating that Her Majesty the Queen had invited three representatives of the Kew Guild to attend a reception to be given at the Palace.
The reception was held to celebrate the Patronages and Affiliations of Her Royal Highness Princess Alexandra, the Hon. Lady Ogilvy, who is the Patron of the Kew Guild. On the 29th November Your President, immediate Past President and Membership Secretary, Sylvia Phillips, attended the reception at Buckingham Palace which was held in one of the main reception galleries. There was an amazing cross section of organisations represented and those present were numbered in their hundreds. After the initial speeches the guests were presented with a superb selection of hors d’oeuvres and copious amounts of champagne. At this point Her Majesty passed through the room holding conversations with many of the groups represented there.
The Kew Guild representatives were lucky to be able to hold a lengthy conversation regarding our work with Her Majesty and she showed considerable interest in the support that we give to the students. She was particularly impressed with the practical aspects of their course and stated that in this age of new technology and the internet there was still an important place for those that could actually do the work.
The reception lasted for almost two hours and at the end it was a great honour to leave the Palace through those oft photographed main gates. Your past president’s family were waiting to meet us and keen to take photographs which did give us the air of being “greeted by the press.”
All in all, a most memorable night.
Sylvia Phillips and Tony Overland outside Buckingham Palace