Prince Charles becomes Kew patron as broad walk borders open

The Prince of Wales has become the patron of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, as the gardens celebrate the opening of the UK's longest double herbaceous borders, the Great Broad Walk Borders.

Prince Charles said: "I have always had the greatest affection and admiration for the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, so I could not be more proud and delighted to have been invited to become Patron of this great institution. Kew has had its roots planted deeply in British soil for more than 250 years, but has developed an international reputation as one of the world’s greatest botanic gardens, renowned for its scientific research and plant collections."

Prince of Wales message to Kew from Kew Gardens on Vimeo.

Kew director Richard Deverell said: "It is a truly great honour to welcome the prince as our patron and we look forward to sharing our many exciting plans for a future in which Kew plays a very central role in the conservation and sustainability of our precious planet. 

Coinciding with the announcement of the new patronage, Kew is celebrating the peak bloom of its beautiful new design feature, ‘The Great Broad Walk Borders’. The 320m Broad Walk was originally landscaped in the 1840s by William Nesfield to heighten the drama of the approach to the newly-constructed Palm House (completed in 1848). Along both sides of the Broad Walk, Nesfield laid out an intricate embroidery of formal beds, which were designed to create a promenade of great horticultural beauty.

Prince Charles said: "The new Great Broad Walk Borders are a great way to celebrate the diversity of the plant kingdom in all its astonishing richness - particularly at a time when, as scientists at Kew have recently stressed, so many of the world's unique plants are under constant threat of extinction. I very much hope that the new borders will attract even more visitors and encourage them to learn about Kew’s exciting role at the heart of global efforts to unlock why plants matter."

The 30,000 plants that make up the borders have been arranged in a unique new design by Kew garden design manager Richard Wilford. They aim to offer a bold diversity of textures and vibrant colours through the growing season, with a peak display this week lasting right through until September.

Wilford said: "I have tried to respect William Nesfield’s original design intent, creating beds of horticultural splendour for our visitors. They bring swathes of summer colour into the most popular area of the Gardens and have different themes, with some grouped into plant families and others selected for their spectacular colour and form."

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