Kew Gardens announce plans for ‘carbon garden’ and Orangery extension

Images above: A pavilion will be built using sustainable materials; the orangery at Kew is currently used as a restaurant and events venue

New pavilion unveiled

Plans have been revealed by the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, unveiling the creation of a “carbon garden” and an extension to the Orangery terrace.

This proposed development comes as a replacement for the current secluded garden, which Kew authorities have flagged as unsafe due to its deteriorated state. A detailed report presented by Kew to Richmond Council outlines the ambitious plans, which they say focuses on enhancing the visitor experience and tackling climate change challenges.

The decision on these proposals rests with the Council. No date has been given as yet for a meeting to discuss it.

Among the proposed changes is the addition of a gravelled seating area extending the Grade-I listed orangery. The project’s implementation requires consent, as it is a listed building.

Justification for the location of the carbon garden is offered in the report, citing the deterioration and safety concerns surrounding the existing secluded garden, originally crafted over three decades ago.

Kew’s vision for the new garden encompasses ‘diverse and aesthetically pleasing flora, emphasising biodiversity in natural habitats’. More than 25 climate-resilient trees will be part of this initiative, educating visitors on the role of carbon in nature and methods to reduce emissions while improving storage.

‘The carbon garden aims to optimise this space, introducing an engaging and educational garden for our visitors to cherish and learn from’,  said the botanical gardens’ submission.

The proposed garden will feature a structured circular path, guiding visitors through four distinct zones highlighting the carbon cycle, climate change impacts, adaptation strategies, and nature-centred solutions. Central to this design is the construction of a pavilion using sustainable materials, providing a focal point for reflection and relaxation.

Each zone within the garden will showcase specific plant species, from drought-resistant varieties to native wildflowers and vibrant meadows, illustrating the diverse themes embedded in this eco-conscious initiative.