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Project information

Restoring & protecting UK wildflowers at Wakehurst

To create a suite of UK wildflower meadows to support pollinators including bees, birds and butterflies, and to protect and conserve threatened plant populations and the wildlife that depends on such habitats. A network of ancient hedgerows will also be restored to provide nectar rich habitats

January 2016 - December 2020

Charity information: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew logo
  • Need


    UK wildflowers are on the decline, with some species at risk of being lost forever: only 2% of wildflower meadows that existed in the 1930s remain. We must take urgent action to protect the plant life that is key to our ecosystem, providing food for people and entire habitats for a wide range of animals. Wildflower meadows were an iconic feature of our historical landscape, their return will bring much-needed biodiversity to the UK countryside


    Creating new UK wildflower meadows will provide long term solutions to halt the decline of our native plants. The meadows will enable Kew to bank the seeds within Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank and enable new ways to support different pollinators such as bees, birds and butterflies; assisting their populations and helping us to halt the decline of nature and wildlife in the UK

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Protect and restore populations of UK wildflowers


    » Create a suite of landscape-scale native flower-rich meadows

    What success will look like

    Success will be thriving habitats of UK native wildflowers and their interdependent animal life.

    Aim 2

    Protect and conserve rare and threatened UK plants


    » Bank UK wildflower seeds at Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank
    » Develop new ways to germinate endangered UK species

    What success will look like

    The seeds of these flowers will be banked at the Millennium Seed Bank, ensuring they can be reintroduced as necessary

    Aim 3

    Engage with and educate the public about UK wildflowers


    » Provide interpretation and educational opportunities at the meadows

    What success will look like

    250,000 visitors a year will have the opportunity to enjoy the meadows while learning about them through dedicated information and educational activities.

    Aim 4

    Engage with and educate fellow organisations/institutions to encourage similar projects


    » Provide training and education to peer groups

    What success will look like

    The meadows will be used as demonstration sites to support habitat management workshops and seminars to inspire others to create further flower-rich grasslands.

  • Impact


    Our project will help to halt the decline in UK wildflowers and ensure their future survival through a living collection and seed storage at Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank, protecting this essential and threatened biodiversity.

    The Wakehurst wildflower meadows will showcase the beauty of UK wildflowers to thousands of people, who will have learned about the importance and value of these habitats, which will be replicable across the UK.


    Projects involving nature are never guaranteed success: they can be affected by adverse weather at critical times, inadequate plant nutrition or inappropriate interventions. We have selected the site, tested the soil and planned the project with the skills of our own world-leading experts.

    New meadows take several years to establish and mature; their early and ongoing success will depend on skilful and continued management by our dedicated team.


    Information about Kew’s work is updated regularly on our website, as well as via e-mail and other newsletters.

    Donors are also welcome to come and see the meadows at Wakehurst

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £30,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £30,000 Wildflower Meadows Creation of and establishment of UK wildflower meadows
  • Background


    Wakehurst is a beautiful botanic garden located in West Sussex.

    Set in 465 acres of country estate, Wakehurst boasts ornamental gardens, temperate woodlands, a nature reserve and an Elizabethan mansion. The meadows will be sited on the former Havelock farm, adjoining the Pinetum.


    Current and future generations will benefit from the protection and conservation of UK wildflowers. These plants play a key role in our ecosystem, providing habitat and food for wildlife, protecting important biodiversity and encouraging sustainable resource production.

    The wildflower meadows will also offer materials and opportunities for botanical researchers, who could use them to explore potential medicinal properties or food security projects.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a global resource for plant and fungal knowledge. We have been at the forefront of plant science and discovery for over 250 years, and have unrivalled expertise and networks in local and global conservation, science and research.

    Wakehurst is ideally situated for UK wildflower meadows, the land available is appropriate for this use and the Millennium Seed Bank is situated on site, allowing great access to both scientists and the public.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Iain Parkinson

    As Conservation and Woodlands Manager, Iain Parkinson has over 25 years of horticultural experience at Wakehurst and will oversee the project.

    Jo Wenham

    Jo Wenham is the Plant Propagation and Conservation Manager, in charge of the UK Native Seed Hub production site which will contribute to the project

    Volunteer Team

    A team of volunteers and staff dedicated to conservation and ecology at Wakehurst.