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Plants, Horticulture and Gardens at Wakehurst

Support Kew's country estate in West Sussex - 453 acres of ornamental gardens, temperate woodlands and the stunning Water Garden.
photo of path with trees and plants at Wakehurst
As well as the formal beds, such as the Winter Garden, Wakehurst is home to National Collections of Skimmia, Hypericum, Betula and Nothofagus.

The Gardens at Wakehurst

Wakehurst is home to formal gardens, natural woodlands, nature reserves and a 16th century mansion; plus Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank, the largest wild seed collection in the world. Wakehurst has several water features including the Bog Garden, Iris Dell, Slips and Water Gardens, which all give outstanding displays through the seasons.

The Loder Valley Nature Reserve is Wakehurst’s best kept secret. It is a magical place of ancient woodlands, flower rich meadows and network of hedgerows and streams. The reserve was opened in 1980 and is now managed as a centre for conservation and education. The reserve is open all year round with visitor numbers limited to protect sensitive habitats.

The Mansion with swathes of Narcissi on its lawn

The lawn south of the Mansion, next to the Pond, is planted with thousands of naturalised daffodils (Narcissi), adding to the spring spectacular at Wakehurst.

The National Plant Collections at Wakehurst

The four collections represent the most comprehensive collections of these genera in cultivation in the UK. National Plant Collections were instigated by Plant Heritage in 1983 to conserve the rich garden flora of the British Isles. The establishment of designated collections of plants created a conservation resource by gathering together all the species and cultivars within particular genera or defined groups. Today there are over 600 National Plant Collections throughout the UK.

Betula – Birches

The longest established and most comprehensive of Wakehurst's four National Plant Collections is the birch collection in Bethlehem Wood. It is regarded by several experts as being the most comprehensive in cultivation anywhere.

Hypericum – St John’s Wort

The Hypericum collection holds a wide range of species and cultivars, with accurate details of their origins, which have been used in taxonomic studies of the genus. Most of the plants are grown in the Specimen Beds close to the Mansion, where they provide late summer colour.

Nothofagus – Southern beeches

The collection at Wakehurst in Coates’ Wood contains 15 of the 19 species. The genetic diversity of the collection is being increased by planting specimens grown from material collected at different locations, and by adding material of species not previously cultivated at Wakehurst.


In the wild, Skimmia comprises four well-defined species, all of Asian origin. All Skimmia species currently in cultivation are represented in the collection at Wakehurst, and have been accurately named in line with the results of Kew’s studies of the genus. These plants are located in the Winter Garden, the Chapel lawn beds, and most are concentrated in new plantings in the Kangaroo Pen. Their evergreen foliage and, in the case of female clones, berries contribute to the ornamental theme.

How your donation can make a difference

By giving a donation today you can help us look after our stunning gardens for future generations to experience and enjoy. Your gift will help us: inspire hundreds of thousands of visitors each year with a passion for plants and the natural world support our world-class team of horticulturists continue caring for the National plant collections at Wakehurst

Introducing the Kew Fund

The Kew Fund is an annual fundraising campaign that pools the collective force of thousands of individuals to make a big impact with their contributions at Kew.

Through the Kew Fund, we ask members and supporters to make a contribution to support our extraordinary institution. Kew relies on a mix of funding including philanthropy, government grants from Defra, as well as memberships, gate receipts and other earned income. Kew’s annual budget is around £50 million, of which almost 50 per cent is provided by non-government sources.

Every contribution, no matter what size, makes a difference. You can make a regular gift by Direct Debit, or give by credit/debit card online, or download a form to post. We’ll keep you in touch with how your support is helping Wakehurst.

Donate now