Wakehurst in Ardingly on TV this August: Channel 5 show looks at Sussex's own American Prairie in full bloom
and live on Freeview channel 276
The fifth episode of Kew Gardens: A Year in Bloom will be on Channel 5 on Tuesday, August 23 (8pm) to show how Sussex’s wild botanic garden created the summer spectacle.
Horticulturalists hand-planted 50,000 plug plants in September last year and the team used 12 million seeds and 110 different species in this conservation experiment.
Viewers can join US expert Larry Weaner as he teams up with Wakehurst to bring a threatened habitat to England.
Ed Ikin, director of Wakehurst, said: “With only one per cent of these diverse ecosystems remaining, our American Prairie will highlight the importance of these habitats and share our knowledge of this threatened ecosystem.
“It is a reminder of the importance of biodiversity, with a unique mix of plants co-existing together, reducing competition and benefiting wildlife.”
Ed said the prairie will go through the natural stresses it would experience in its native habitat following a process of carefully managed horticultural practices.
In series one of the show last year viewers watched the successful first sow of seeds, which were hand-collected by Wakehurst horticulturalists in America.
The American Prairie has been three years in the making and is home to plants like Coreopsis lanceolata and Rudbeckia hirta.
It features fully accessible pathways and shaded patches and people can bring picnics to the grasslands.
Kew Gardens: A Year in Bloom has frequently featured Wakehurst’s pioneering Nature Unlocked research programme, looking at how this multi-faceted study has transformed the Sussex attraction into a ‘living laboratory’.
Kew Scientists have been using the site’s different biodiverse habitats to carry out ground-breaking research on carbon storage, pollination, hydrology and wellbeing.
Since the launch of Nature Unlocked a year ago, the American Prairie has taken on a new role, as Kew scientists use it to study the benefits of native and non-native plant species for pollinators.
Dr Hauke Koch is mapping Wakehurst’s pollinator population to see whether non-native grassland could provide adequate nutritional value for native pollinators in Sussex, while MSc student Rafia Sultana Hogg is looking at the invasiveness of the non-native species and studying the seed dispersal traits of six key species.
Visit www.kew.org/wakehurst for tickets.