HRH and Prince Turki Al Faisal plant palm trees at Kew Gardens

Posted: 4 Feb 2008

The Prince of Wales planted a hardy palm tree at Kew Gardens to help replace the palms that failed last winter.

Ten new palm trees were donated by The Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, who collaborate on various projects with the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in south west London.

The Prince, who is Patron of the Foundation and Friends of The Royal Botanic Gardens, was greeted at Kew by the Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the UK Prince Turki Al Faisal.

During the planting ceremony, The Prince and Prince Turki Al Faisal each picked up a spade and shovelled dirt around the base of one of the trees.

Afterwards, The Prince attended a reception and met representatives from the Saudi Arabian embassy.

The palm tree, which weighed more than one tonne, had to be levered into position outside the Temperate House by a 25 tonne crane.

The palms, otherwise known as Trachycarpus Fortunei, were named in honour of Robert Fortune, a 19th century horticulturalist, explorer and collector.

They can grow up to 40ft and are among the hardiest palm in the world, withstanding cold as low as minus 14C. These particular trees have been gently ‘hardened off' to make them more likely to flourish in London.

The planting ceremony launched “Saudi Arabian Days – A Summer Celebration”, a two-day family event at Syon Park, on Saturday 31st July and Sunday 1st August, which will showcase the varied culture of Saudi Arabia, including arts, crafts, animals, music and dance.

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