Celebrating National Public Gardens Day – The Kew Gardens

The second Friday in May, National Public Gardens Day - The Kew Gardens
Reading Time: 2 minutes

The second Friday in May, National Public Gardens Day – The Kew Gardens. Image: Unsplash

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Celebrating National Public Gardens Day – The Kew Gardens

The second Friday in May is National Public Gardens Day, a day to enjoy these beautiful spaces and think about what they mean for our communities. A public garden is defined as having a physical presence that includes plant collections, buildings, infrastructure and an organization that manages these elements. A public garden can be anything from a botanical garden to a zoo to a rooftop garden.

One of today’s biggest botanic gardens is the Kew Gardens, located in Richmond, London. Founded in 1840, the Kew Gardens (also known as the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to over 50,000 living plants. It also has 7 million preserved specimens.

Their Princess of Wales Conservatory has ten different climate zones, including dry and wet tropics and eight smaller micro-climates. And everyone at the Kew Gardens works to ensure that each set of plants’ needs are met. Their arboretum has 14,000 species of trees, with 2000 of them rare and ancient varieties. Meanwhile, 70% of the plants in their rock garden 70% of plants displayed here are grown from wild-collected seeds collected by the Kew Garden’s scientists.  

One of the main goals of the Kew Gardens is to understand and protect plants and fungi for the well-being of people and the future of all life on Earth. They have over 400 scientists to help achieve this goal. The Kew Gardens also have a world-renowned library, with over 750,000 volumes and illustrations and are always looking for people to participate in their citizen science projects or through global research.

The Kew Gardens is working towards inspiring their visitors to protect the natural world and to provide them with knowledge, ideas and beautiful gardens to motivate them to take action.

The Kew Gardens is also committed to helping address and mitigate the effects of climate change. They are doing this in several ways:

  • Seed banking: The Kew Gardens collect and preserve seeds from plant species that are endangered, economically important or found in one area of the world.
  • Match-making plants and fungi: The Kew Gardens are looking at fungi and plant relationships so that plants can be reintroduced into the wild that naturally produce seedlings and ensure the long-term conservation of plant species at risk.
  • Climate change research: The Kew Gardens are working to predict the impact of climate change on important plants and global ecosystems.

The Kew Gardens works closely with the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List to identify plants that are threatened with extinction. But they also help identify, study and house new species. In 2023, 74 new species of plants and 15 fungi were named by botanists and mycologists at the Gardens.

On National Public Garden Day, we celebrate public gardens’ importance in research, education, conservation and pure enjoyment. If you can’t make it out to the Kew Gardens today, there are many other ways you can celebrate:

  • Visit a garden in your area (visit the American Public Gardens Association website to find one)
  • Help build a garden or volunteer to build and maintain a community garden
  • Geotag your nearby public garden on Google to help motivate people to visit them
  • Participate in garden tours
  • Attend a lecture or workshop to learn more about gardening, plant care or conservation.
  • Take a photography stroll to capture the beauty of the public garden.

Public gardens should be enjoyed and appreciated every day. And we are very fortunate to have so many around us, big or small, which help benefit our biodiversity and our natural environment.

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