There?s a truly golden feel to 2015 at a Sussex botanic garden which is celebrating Kew?s 50th anniversary of running the world-famous Wakehurst estate.
Home to unique conservation and horticulture projects including Kew?s global Millennium Seed Bank project, the 500-acre estate at Ardingly plans twelve months of jubilation.
Throughout the year the Golden Plant Trail features a seasonally-changing selection of some of the most beautiful and interesting species grown in the botanic garden, all with a ?golden? theme. Look out for the wind chimes, golden benches and information flags to denote the plants of special interest. Stimulate the senses through sight, sound and scent as the plants bloom over the coming months.
Also long-term is a photographic exhibition containing previously unseen images from Kew?s vast archives which mark the achievements and notable occasions over the past 50 years.
Events at Wakehurst throughout the spring are under the umbrella title Whispering Woods to celebrate the estate?s trees.? They include magical, guided walks on 25-26 April and 3-4 May plus a chance to see the popular birds of prey displays by Huxley?s on 2-4 May. The late spring bank holiday is dedicated to Wakehurst?s Wild Wood Weekend. ?There?ll be the chance to see a working woodland in action with demonstrations of charcoal burning, traditional chair-making, bowl turning and bush crafts?, explains woodland manager Iain Parkinson. Set in a beautiful ancient woodland, the fun also includes woodland theatre, storytelling and aerial acrobatics ? making it the perfect family occasion.
From 23 May Wakehurst is opening one of its most beautiful ancient woodlands, one normally off-limits to visitors. There?ll be the chance to follow a trail through Pearcelands Wood and learn how the area is managed in a traditional way to provide materials for the botanic gardens, timber for use on the estate and raw materials for charcoal production.
Magical summer meadows
Summer at Wakehurst is dedicated to Magical Meadows and showing the importance of this rapidly declining, and once common habitat as home to native plants and wildlife. The centrepiece is a Scythe and Cider Weekend (18-19 July) when local foods, regional ciders as well as the Great Scythe Race will be held along with children?s entertainment to celebrate country food and rural crafts. ?An exhibition will feature the people behind the Wakehurst meadows, their crafts and traditional skills.
It promises to be a truly magical twelve months at Wakehurst.