The Prince of Wales admires flowers at Kew Gardens

The Prince of Wales didn’t let the rain dampen his visit to Kew Gardens today (17th May 2017) as he took a walk down the Great Broad Walk Borders – the world’s longest double herbaceous borders. 

The Prince of Wales visits Kew Gardens
The Prince of Wales visits Kew Gardens

A keen horticulturist, The Prince of Wales – who is also a Patron of the Royal Botanical Gardens – stopped to admire the flowers along the 320-metre long display before meeting a group of Kew apprentices to talk about their work.

Richard Barley, Director of Horticulture at Kew, who joined The Prince of Wales on his visit, said: "He is a lover of plants and gardens and he genuinely enjoyed having a walk down the borders and discussing plants within them, and why we chose particular things and what we're seeking to achieve.

"He finished up saying he must come back and get some ideas for his own borders. That's always the great thing about any garden, they're a source of ideas."

The visit took place ahead of Kew’s annual State of the World’s Plants report, which is a reliable tool for policymakers, scientists and the public to reference the plant world accurately and to focus efforts to adapt to a changing global climate.

Attending a reception to launch the report, which encouraged people to recognise the significant contribution plants make to our society, The Prince of Wales was able to speak to the experts behind the publication. 

James Wearn, a botanical scientist at Kew who co-ordinated the report, discussed a new Rattan palm used in basket weaving that had been discovered in northern Borneo.

"Reaching out to as diverse an audience as possible – from the general public through to governments and policymakers – is extremely important for bringing plants up the agenda.

"Plants have always been seen as the Cinderella’s of the natural world but plants are essential globally. From the shirt I wear that's made of cotton, all the way through to the breakfast people had this morning made from cereal or toast."

The State of the Plants 2017 report explores why some plants are more vulnerable than others to climate change, disease and invasive species, and also highlights new technologies that are helping to speed up the discovery and classification of plants.