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Most Outstanding Group in Touch with Nature – Our day at KEW Gardens

Our trip to KEW Gardens was very interesting, informative, hot and lots of fun. We started our day by meeting Phillip Turvil (Grow Wild Programme Director), who was incredibly enthusiastic and gave us a whirl wind tour of the grounds. He encouraged us to hug trees and to touch the bark and smell the leaves. The eucalyptus trees were immense with their peeling bark and strong smelling leaves. He told us top facts as we went around. Did you know that it’s called KEW Gardens because it was owned by 2 families that had joined together?

After our tour with Phillip we met Lee Davis who was a really “ fun?guy ;)”. Lee is a specialist in all things fungi, he gave us a great talk on fungi. Lee talked to us about zombie fungi, which we both thought was so cool! He explained to us how fungi is used in the majority of drugs such as penicillin.

KEW has plants that are so rare they are extinct in the wild and can only be found in KEW Gardens. They have different zones for different ages of trees, which are checked daily especially in the windy weather or after a storm. The staff there individually knows everything about every individual tree! They shoot lasers into the trees to test how old and secure the tree structure is. The oldest tree is 300 years old; they have trees of all ages, all around each other to create an age structure environment. Having a diverse collection of trees insures if there is a storm and the oldest trees fall you still have the youngest trees coming through.

We went to explore the hive which simulates the activities of the bees in an actual hive in KEW by admitting a humming sound and a LED light display which move around as the bees move around in the hive in real time.

We then took a scenic walk around the lake up to the tree top walk to look over the whole park.

The grounds were magnificent with pristine borders and bright, blooming flowers (1.3million species).

Philip Turvil said:“What a pleasure to welcome Sophie, Kyra and their families to Kew Gardens. We talked about plants, fungi and hedgehogs! The highlight was our tour of Kew’s fungarium, the world’s largest collection of fungi, and the wonderful conversations that ensued about mushrooms and how they shape life on earth.”

We really enjoyed our day even though it was extremely hot and we learnt a lot of new and interesting facts. Thank you Roots & Shoots and KEW Gardens for organising this day for us!

Kyra and Sophie, Hedgehog Friendly Town


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