Wakehurst Place

Come and join the “Great Seed Swap” at Wakehurst Place

  October 20 2012 11am to 5pm Wakehurst Place, Ardingly, near Haywards Heath, West Sussex RH17 6TN

 Gardeners will be able to swap seeds and pick up expert tips and advice at The Great Seed Swap at Wakehurst Place, the country estate of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, near Haywards Heath, West Sussex on October 20.

 The Great Seed Swap is being held at Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank* at Wakehurst, which holds the largest wild seed collection in the world, and on the surrounding Wakehurst estate.

 The aim of the event is to encourage and inspire more people to grow vegetables and plants, and experiment with different varieties – particularly heritage vegetables that were once the mainstay of British gardens. Gardeners will be able to swap seeds from plants they have grown at home for seeds from a range of garden vegetables and flowers, grown by other enthusiasts.

 You don’t have to bring seeds with you to swap: seeds from allotment and community groups, specialist growers, along with seeds saved from plants in the botanical gardens at Wakehurst, will be available for a small donation.

 Tours of the Wakehurst nursery throughout the day will reveal heritage display plots where rare varieties of heritage vegetables are being grown. These varieties are being conserved by the Heritage Seed Library, an initiative of the national charity Garden Organic. Experts at Wakehurst will give talks and practical demonstrations on cleaning, drying and storing seeds.

 Children will be able to have a go at potting seeds, and take part in an activity session to learn more about plants that go into food, and there will be stalls selling local food and produce. Visitors will also be able to find out about the vital work of Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank and discover how Kew is helping to safeguard the world’s most endangered plants. Kew and its partners have already collected and conserved seed from 10% of the world’s wild flowering plant species in the Seed Bank (around 30,000 species) and aim to conserve 25% by 2020. 

Dr Paul Smith, Head of Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank, said: “The Great Seed Swap was held for the first time at Wakehurst last year and, because of the interest it generated, we are holding another swap this year. “The Millennium Seed Bank is all about passing on our botanical inheritance intact. This means not only storing seeds but growing them. For this reason I am delighted that we are working with Garden Organic to hold these seed swap events, encouraging gardeners and horticulturists to use as wide a range of plants as possible. I hope that people will come along, try some new varieties and then come back next year to tell us what they tasted like.”

 The event is supported by Garden Organic’s Heritage Seed Library and Seedy Sunday (Brighton and Hove). Admission: £2 entry to The Great Seed Swap (Garden entrance not included.) Further information 01444 894067 or visit www.kew.org/seedswap

*Experts from the Millennium Seed Bank will be sharing their expertise on saving and storing seeds, but seeds from the Seed Bank will not be used in the Seed Swap.

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