segunda-feira, 18 de outubro de 2010

Viveiros Tropicais de Kew Gardens

Behind the scenes

The nursery provides facilities for propagating, establishing and growing on plants from various habitats within the world’s tropical and subtropical regions. There are over 45,000 plants held here at any one time. The plants are produced to support the public conservatories for educational purposes and may by used for scientific purposes by visiting and Kew scientists.

The nursery covers an area of 6,500m2 and is divided into 21 climatic environments that are separately controlled and monitored by a ‘climatic computer’. These zones are collected under four units: Cacti and Succulents, Moist Tropics, Orchids, plus Temperate and Conservation Collections. The large wide-span complex is heated by nine gas-fired boilers, although not all are used together. The nursery is supplied with water filtered by a process called ‘reverse osmosis’ for irrigation and misting. The water is stored in a large tank potentially holding 60,000 gallons. It passes through an ultra-violet filter before being used.

Fifteen permanent staff work in the Tropical Nursery, supported by up to ten students, apprentices, trainees and 28 horticultural volunteers. Daily maintenance of the collections involves watering, feeding, re-potting plants, and monitoring plant health throughout the year. Then there are regular seasonal jobs. The giant waterlilies start their life here, before being planted out in the Waterlily House for the public to see. And Kew’s specimens of Titan arum (Amorphophallus titanum) rest dormant in the Nursery until they flower and are put on display for visitors to see and smell.

Foto: Costus woodsonii

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