A Grand Day Out17th July 2012 • Stephanie's Blog • Stephanie Donaldson
There are good days – and there are really special days. I’ve just had a really special day at Kew Gardens. It was a day that featured (in different ways) David Attenborough, Charles Darwin, the explorer David Livingstone, a ‘Suicide Palm’ and the world’s smallest waterlily. I’d been invited to go to the launch of the 3D version of The Kingdom of Plants narrated by David Attenborough – and he was there to talk about it. I managed to ask one question, but was so star struck that I didn’t follow it up, despite the fact that he was every bit as affable and articulate as I had expected. What a lovely man. And did you know that baby bats are ‘pups’ – I certainly didn’t. Afterwards I was taken to the Herbarium where I saw pressed plants collected by Charles Darwin in Patagonia and David Livingstone in what was then Nyasaland, as well as specimens from the newly discovered Suicide Palm from Madagascar, so named because it flowers magnificently when it reaches maturity and then dies. It apparently grows so large that it can be seen from Google Earth if you have the co-ordinates (I don’t because I couldn’t find my pen to note them down!) Then on to the Tropical Nursery where we were shown some wonderful plants that Kew has propagated, including the aforementioned miniature waterlily which is native to Rwanda but no longer exists in the wild. What a wonderful day – I met one of my heroes, came into contact with Kew’s illustrious past and witnessed the vital conservation work it is carrying out today. Oh, and Kew Gardens were looking mighty fine too.