The Prince of Wales was forced to shelter under an umbrella when he visited Kew Gardens’ star borders attraction but he vowed to return to get some ideas for his own efforts.
Charles did not let a downpour spoil his visit to the Great Broad Walk Borders – believed to be the world’s longest double herbaceous borders.
The heir to the throne’s visit came ahead of the launch on Thursday of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew’s annual State Of The World’s Plants report.
The annual document acts as a reliable tool for policymakers, scientists and the public to reference the plant world accurately and to focus efforts to adapt to a changing global climate.
Charles, who is a keen horticulturist and patron of Kew, walked the length of the 320 metre-long (1,050ft) borders, stopping to look at some of the plants and flowers and chatting to staff at work.
Richard Barley, director of horticulture at Kew, joined the Prince for his visit and said afterwards: “From what he said he really enjoyed seeing it.
“He is a lover of plants and gardens and he genuinely enjoyed having a walk down the borders and discussing plants within them and why we chose particular things and what we’re seeking to achieve.
“He finished up saying he must come back and get some ideas for his own borders at some point. That’s always the great thing about any garden, they’re a source of ideas.”
Charles attended a reception to launch Kew’s new report, and chatted to some of the expert contributors who had set up displays to highlight new developments included in the document.
James Wearn, a botanical scientist at Kew who co-ordinated the report, discussed a new Rattan palm, used in basket weaving, that had been discovered in northern Borneo.
Speaking about the importance of the report, he said: “Reaching out to as diverse an audience as possible from the general public through to governments and policy makers is extremely important for bringing plants up the agenda.
“Plants have always been seen as the Cinderellas of the natural world but actually plants are essential globally, from the shirt I wear that’s made of cotton all the way through to the breakfast people had this morning made from cereal or toast.”
Before leaving, the Prince visited Kew’s iconic palm house privately. It was built in 1844 by Richard Turner to Decimus Burton’s designs to provide a home for the tropical plants that Victorian explorers brought back from their adventures in the tropics.