Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Tropical nursery

My time in the Tropical Nursery has come to an end; unfortunately the three month placement system means that just as you are coming to terms with the floral glory it is time to move on! I have now started working in the Palm House so, happily, there is plenty more excitement to come, but I wanted to end my first placement at Kew by sharing some of the wonderful plants that are grown and maintained in the nursery at large!

Over in the Orchid unit, Vanda hybrids hang from the ceiling with their thick aerial roots dressed in the Spanish Moss, Tillandsia usneoides. This plant has no roots, and simply ekes out a living hanging off a suitable branch or trunk

Ramosmania rodriguesii is one of the gems in Zone 9, native to the island of Rodrigues near Madagascar and famous for being saved from extinction by Kew. With one native plant remaining in the wild, Carlos fathomed how to pollinate the flowers and the resulting seeds have ensured the survival of this beautiful species!

The paintbrush heads of Haemanthus albiflos

Dorstenia christenhusz is a curious beast; much of the genus displays these unusual star-shaped blooms

The snapping jaws of Dionaea muscipula! Passing flies beware!

Drosera regia is another carnivorous gem, trapping unfortunate blighters on these graceful sticky hairs. No insect is safe, including butterflies!

This is the almost comically tropical inflorescence of Billbergia distachia var. distachia. Billbergia is a Bromeliad, and one of the legendary plants from this family is the gigantic Puya raimondii which has been known to kill sheep!

One of the most famous plants growing at Kew is the Titan Arum, Amorphophallus titanum, this beast taking years to flower from a tuber below ground the size of a small child. The flower is enormous, I will be posting it here later this year, and this incredible seed head follows after pollination by the nursery staff

The curious sea shell flowers of Dalechampia aristolochiaefolia

Another of the glorious climbers in Zone 9, Thunbergia togoensis! This has a similar colour to the arresting Tibouchina urvilleana

Carlos has raised a new Hibiscus hybrid with these glorious blooms, glossy leaves and repeat flowering. Unnamed as yet, unfortunately my suggestion of H. bertioides was rejected out of hand

A fellow student and myself created this temporary piece of Victoriana for the recent Tropical Nursery public open day. What ho!


Jamie Harris said...

Good work, Bainbo! Great pictures of some amazing plants. Hope all is going well over there? Let me know when a good time to come and meet you for a beer is btw...

Anonymous said...

Fantastic blog and fantastic photos as per usual :) Dorstenia christenhusz is an amazing looking curiosity!

Unknown said...

Some truly unusual flowers there! Good luck with the palms.

Gaz said...

Enjoy the palm house. We visited the nursery for he open day really enjoyed seeing behind the scenes.

Gaz Alternative Eden

Sandra Nock said...

Ooh very jealous, enjoy the Palm House. Say hello to my Cocos nucifera. Is Wes still in charge there?
Fabulous blogging as ever Mr B, glad to see you enjoying yourself.
Sandra xx

Susan Libertiny said...

What an amazing group of photographs. You are very lucky indeed!

Wife, Mother, Gardener said...

So many wonderful plants! Our local conservatory in Pittsburgh has just a acquired a couple of Titan Arums, so we too will have that treasured but stinky experience. And I did not know Thunbergia came in that color! Thanks for sharing!

Bertie Bainbridge said...

Greetings all! Sandra, Wes is still the ‘boss man’!

Sandra Nock said...

And I'll bet he still plays rock music full blast each morning and goes to the Kew station cafe for Friday fry ups too. He's a cool guy and super knowledgeable, hope he's looking after you. Xx
P.s. happy birthday!

Bertie Bainbridge said...

Thank you Mrs Nock!

Oregon Native Plant Nursery said...

What a great resource! Thanks and more power to you.