Royals team up to open Qur'anic Garden Exhibition space at Kew

A simple white exhibition space featuring panels of plant species mentioned in the Qur'an has been opened at RBG Kew by HRH the Prince of Wales.

The Qur'anic Garden Exhibition has been created as a symbol of collaboration between Kew Gardens and the state of Qatar, from where some of the plants originate.

The temporary garden exhibition, which includes a central fountain surrounded by four olive trees as well as displays of sweet basil, date palm, barley and henna, aims to highlight issues of sustainability.

As well as opening the exhibition last week, Prince Charles planted a sidra tree sapling with Qatari royal Sheikha Mozah in a symbol of cultural and research partnership between the UK and Qatar.

The launch of the exhibition also marked the signing of a letter of intent between Kew and the Qatar Foundation, of which Sheikha Mozah is chair, to work together.

Kew will conserve the seeds of plants from Qatar in its Millennium Seed Bank for future research. Kew director Professor Stephen Hopper told HW that the exhibition and partnership were part of plans to broaden the gardens' appeal.

"Kew can always do better at broadening the audience that experiences the site," he explained. "It is really important to celebrate at this level an international relationship."

He added that Kew was "negotiating" with other countries globally on similar partnerships, but said it was "not appropriate at this time" to reveal which ones.

The exhibition comprises plans of the proposed Qur'anic Garden in Doha that was launched by Sheikha Mozah in September 2008 when she planted its first tree - a sidra.

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