Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Wakehurst Place-Kew Gardens-Millennium Seed Bank

I first saw Wakehurst Place on BBC's Countryfile and thought it looked like a great place to visit. The Millennium Seed Bank is based here at Wakefield and in 2009 they achieved their target of 10 % of the world's flora seeds! Their new target for 2020 is 25 %.  As per the theme of my week I used my newly purchased National Trust membership and so the visit was FREE! 

As we looked at the map we realised it was a huge place and would take us all day so we went back to the car and grabbed our picnic lunch, I'm glad we did as it would have been a pain to come all the way back for it. First up we walked to the Millennium Seed Bank, it was opened by HRH Prince Charles in 2000. Its a really cool building. We sat and watched a film about how important it is to store as many of the world's flora seeds as possible. There were lots of seed models for us to look at including the double coconut palm which is huge and the tiny seeds of the Lady's Slipper Orchid, which is the size of a full stop. I loved the seeds they had displayed on the ceiling.
They were shown 20 times their actual size and were moved around by giant sloths-for the life of me I can't remember the name of them though!!

I thought it was fascinating how the lab was all set out to show you all the rooms the seeds go into and what happens to them whilst their in each room. The children loved watching the scientists at work behind the glass and one man even tried to mime what he was doing in the lab-it was very funny and we gave him a round of applause afterwards. A really  really cool place to explore and gave us so many different topics to chat about. Its quite overwhelming when you realise how dependent we are on plants/trees, its a scary thought to think we could lose so many of the worlds plants. Its such a great project.
As we walked around we loved looking at what the plants Latin names were. I think this was my favourite.
Cordelia saw on the BBC's Planet Earth Live how some baby bears were digging their claws into one of these redwood trees and how the bark all comes off, she asked me to take this photo.
We spotted some fungi growing on these wooden steps.
This is Wakefield Mansion, we didn't go inside but it looked very impressive. Lord Henry Price bequeathed Wakefield to the National Trust in 1963, he and his wife Eve were passionate about plants and there still remains some of the plants they originally planted.
I loved these ancient trees on the way to the maze, with the boys running off ahead, they look so tiny next to these giants
Making it to the maze, making friends and fighting all part of the course of our day! Being a bit tired myself didn't help. Sometimes distraction is the key...
Finger maze!! My work here is done.....
What a lovely spot to have our lunch, in the rain....

This was part of the Water Gardens, very beautiful
More giant plants!!!!
The view from this point was really beautiful, even the children stopped squabbling for two minutes to look at it.

And then they were shined by these talking totem poles, boys and girls were united in their excitement and competition.

A moment of peace.

A really fab place to visit, we'll be visiting again here soon, the next time we are in Sussex.

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