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Tuesday, 11 June, 2002, 05:46 GMT 06:46 UK
Visitor numbers blossom at Kew
Smelly flower Kew Gardens
World's biggest and smelliest flower opened on 1 June
The botanical gardens at Kew has recorded its highest visitor numbers in a decade.

Last year, the Surrey attraction and its sister garden Wakehurst Place in west Sussex, had a combined total of 1.3m visits, the best figure since 1990-1.

Visitor numbers for Kew alone were up by 21%, the best since 1995-6.


Children are conservationists of the future and we want to convey our message to them clearly - that all life depends on plants

Prof Peter Crane

The increased figures at Kew include a huge leap in children's visits (up 126%), after free entry was introduced for under-17s.

Group visits were also up, in a year when the tourist industry as a whole was hit badly by the foot-and-mouth epidemic and the terrorist attacks of 11 September.

Wakehurst Place, where there is a garden and Millennium seed-bank, had its most successful year since records began, with over 319,000 visitors.

It has been an exciting year for Kew.

World honour

On 1 June, a second titan arum - the biggest flower in the world - flowered in the Victorian greenhouse.

And the botanists have learned the gardens are in line to be ranked alongside the Great Wall of China as a World Heritage site.

Opened by Queen Victoria in 1841, they were nominated for the distinction in January. Unesco will announce whether it has been successful in June next year.

Kew Gardens Director, Professor Peter Crane, said the team was "really pleased" at the year's "tremendous" results.

He said he was particularly glad to see the gardens attracting more children.

"These are the gardeners and conservationists of the future and we want to convey our message to them clearly - that all life depends on plants."


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See also:

02 May 02 | UK
11 Aug 01 | Health
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