Today was the celebration of the 250th anniversary of Kew Gardens in London. As an illustration of these historic lawns, there is a beautiful photo gallery of the gardens that can be contemplated here.
But beyond the beauty of the gardens, some serious botanical conservation work is in progress, which has far-reaching global implications. The goal is no less than saving life on earth...
"The 250th anniversary exhibition which the Queen will view is devoted to Kew's ark: the millennium seed bank which will this year hit the target of keeping samples of 10% of all the seed-bearing plants in the world - on track for 25% by 2020.
The bank is at the Royal Horticultural Society's Wakehurst Place, because Thames-side Kew was judged too vulnerable to flooding, or a crash by a plane heading for nearby Heathrow. Staff from the gardens are joining botanists all over the world in collecting, identifying, cleaning and storing seed in giant freezers. The collection is not a museum: every 10 years scientists will check the seed is still viable and can be propagated to save the world from some all too imaginable ecological disaster."