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Author Topic: Kew get in on the act......  (Read 3734 times)

Maggi Young

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Kew get in on the act......
« on: October 16, 2010, 06:32:27 PM »
It seems that the alpine department at Kew have decided that they will do a bit of blogging, too..... Richard Wilford introduces the  concept here :
http://www.kew.org/news/kew-blogs/meet-alpine-and-rock-garden-teams.htm

They've a way to go to catch up with the Wisley Folks, but it will be interesting to be able to catch up on Kew happenings from our own far flung 'posts of the empire' !! ::) 8) ;) ;) ;D
« Last Edit: October 18, 2010, 11:12:21 AM by Maggi Young »
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Maren

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Re: Kew get in on the act......
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2010, 07:10:47 PM »
Hmmm, I'm a friend of Kew and love the place, but their Alpine department is very disappointing since they introduced that architects dream, the Davies house. The setting is great but there's nothing much in it. I rather go to Wisley for alpines. :-X
Maren in Marlow, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom - Zone 8

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Maggi Young

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Re: Kew get in on the act......
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2010, 09:02:45 PM »
Your comment echoes what I have heard from lots of people,.... it seems the new building is not terribly popular....tough on the Staff who have to work with it and who love their alpines  :-X
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!


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Pascal B

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Re: Kew get in on the act......
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2010, 08:56:52 AM »
I spoke to Tony Hall just before he retired and he admitted that he was glad to be leaving on one hand because he said the internal rules from Kew made it near impossible to replace or enlarge the collections and make them more interesting. This frustrated him immensely. He already predicted that the collections would get poorer and poorer and that was what? 6-7 years ago? So I don't think it is only the building that makes Kew less interesting for alpines nowadays.

Lesley Cox

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Re: Kew get in on the act......
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2010, 09:38:16 PM »
Yes, Pascal, Tony, while distressed that he would be unable to look after his beloved Junos for much longer, was never-the-less aware, and stated, that he believed what he called "the golden age" of alpine gardening was past, with Kew unable to collect or even accept material any longer unless it was certified as being with the permission of the governments concerned, of those countries from whence the material came. He was sure that his own collection in particular, would gradually reduce as the rarer, more difficult species were left to their own devices or at least not cared for to his own high standards. It seems his words have come true.

Kew, like many another "botanical" garden, will gradually become what we know as "public" gardens where because of the need to bring in the mass public, for income purposes, displays are of bedding and massed plantings of "pretty" plants rather than any concentration on the scientific purpose of the institution. It will take time, but it will happen.

Likewise our private collections, if recent murmurings by governments of all colours are indicitive, plant movements around the world will become greatly curtailed - it has already happened in New Zealand and Australia - so that rare or lost material won't be able to be replaced. Our gardens will become shadows of their former selves with much of the thrill and excitement of a new plant in flower, lost to us forever.
Lesley Cox - near Dunedin, lower east coast, South Island of New Zealand - Zone 9

Pascal B

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Re: Kew get in on the act......
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2010, 06:38:07 PM »
Lesley,

That is the irony isn't it? Botanical institutions like Kew hardly being able to survive without government funding but imposing rules that affect the people that still are willing to pay and spent time on growing plants that the botanical gardens themselves no longer can grow: the collectors. No botanical garden traditionally is more firmly against private plant-/seedcollectors than Kew and yet, the value of the private collections for fundamental botanic research should not be dismissed and even could be the way forward or part of the solution. Instead of being more realistic, they aim for "as it should be". It is either sit back fooling yourself the rules are protecting the plants or look at reality and find a way that actually works, even if it has some downsides.

As admirable the goals are, current rules and legislation don't work and even work contraproductive. Having an official permit or not, the keyword is responsible collecting and that is upto the individual, a paper signed by a local administrator that knows zip about plants to me has the same value as toilet paper. It does not make collecting more legal if the last plant of a population is collected, pressed down and ends up in a herbarium as an "interesting find".

And let's be honest, not getting a permit to collect some plants but seeing them being killed by roadwork is very hard to accept. Our treasured plants are often the local weeds in their native country, and sometimes treated that way. Without proper local conservation plants might disappear without even getting a change to survive in a collection and believe me, I have seen complete habitats with rare plants disappear in 2 years time! Not been able to study them, gone forever to make room for coffea plantations..... :'(

The challenge is to find the right people to work with and filter out the "wanna-have-no-matter-what" collectors who ruin it for the respsonsible collectors.

The N European botanical gardens have a much more realistic approach and do coorperate with individual collectors. As long as we have the plants and their survival as our common goal I don't see why individual collectors and botanical institutes should not coorperate more. Principle are fine as long as they are pragmatic and not based on an outdated principle that proper research should be left to the professionals. They should get out of their ivory tower, those days are gone.

PS. 30-40% of the present collection at Kew would not pass the test and would fall in the cataogory "illegaly collected" by the current standards of Kew...., times change don't they... ;)
« Last Edit: October 25, 2010, 06:54:36 PM by Pascal B »

PeterT

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Re: Kew get in on the act......
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2011, 08:07:57 AM »
Your comment echoes what I have heard from lots of people,.... it seems the new building is not terribly popular....tough on the Staff who have to work with it and who love their alpines  :-X

try leaving yor comments here, I did.

http://www.kew.org/visit-kew-gardens/garden-attractions-A-Z/Davies-Alpine-House.htm
living near Stranraer, Scotland. Gardening in the West of Scotland and Derbyshire, England.

Tim Ingram

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Re: Kew get in on the act......
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2011, 08:37:56 AM »
I have visited Kew since I was a student in London over 30 years ago, and always found it wonderful. I would tend to agree about the Davies greenhouse simply because many of the plants exhibited therein are grown elsewhere and brought in for display. So it does have more significance as sculpture and impression than necessarily in cultivation. Although I would echo a lot of the comments made above to some extent they are the observations of an older generation and one has to live with the current situation, and in particular do those who are actually running the alpine department at Kew now. If there is a strong community of alpine gardeners in general this must filter through to the strengths of Botanical Institutions like Kew because despite being centres of excellence in scientific terms they don't stand on their own. We all have a strong desire to understand and respect the Plant Kingdom in our different ways.

Although ostensibly there are more and more restrictions on seed collecting and 'so called ownership' of wild plant material, in reality we still have the most enormous palette of plants growing in our gardens and at least quite wide availability of seed from wild and garden sources. Jim Archibald was a wonderful example of someone who had contacts throughout the plant world and through this was able to circumvent and transcend many of these petty rules. Laws in a way are there to be always challenged!
Dr. Timothy John Ingram. Nurseryman & gardener with strong interest in plants of Mediterranean-type climates and dryland alpines. Garden in Kent, UK. www.coptonash.plus.com

Lesley Cox

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Re: Kew get in on the act......
« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2011, 09:46:09 PM »
I've not seen or been in the Davies Alpine House but those who worked in old one thought it a disaster. Surely the best people to design alpine houses which of all things should be purpose-built, would be those who grow alpines.
Lesley Cox - near Dunedin, lower east coast, South Island of New Zealand - Zone 9

Surreylad

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Re: Kew get in on the act......
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2011, 10:11:50 PM »
I went in there this summer oddly enough here's outside and one of the beds.
Warwick Furnell, Egham, Surrey.

Lesley Cox

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Re: Kew get in on the act......
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2011, 11:17:25 PM »
How would a structure like that cope with a storm like that of, say, 1987?
Lesley Cox - near Dunedin, lower east coast, South Island of New Zealand - Zone 9

Surreylad

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Re: Kew get in on the act......
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2011, 02:20:23 PM »
How would a structure like that cope with a storm like that of, say, 1987?

it looked quite aerodynamic and very solid when i was there so i would imagine the wind might not be much of a problem but any flying debris would be.
Warwick Furnell, Egham, Surrey.

PeterT

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Re: Kew get in on the act......
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2011, 03:01:19 PM »
The biggest problem, in my opinion, is the lack of display space. Most of the inside is pathway.
living near Stranraer, Scotland. Gardening in the West of Scotland and Derbyshire, England.

Surreylad

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Re: Kew get in on the act......
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2011, 05:13:45 PM »
That's very true Peter
Warwick Furnell, Egham, Surrey.

 

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