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Unions warn Kew Gardens 'debate'

Unions have called for a "proper debate" on the future of Kew Gardens amid spending cuts which could lead to the loss of more than 120 jobs.

The Public and Commercial Services union and Prospect warned that government funding cuts will "irreversibly damage" the work of the famous Royal Botanic Gardens.

Kew said it was facing "significant financial challenges", including a shortfall of £5 million in the current year.

Garden photography awards at Kew

Kew Gardens
The awards will be presented at The Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew. Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Archive/Press Association Images

The International Garden Photographer of the Year awards will take place at Kew's Royal Botanic Gardens today.

The awards are presented for what is considered the world's premier international competition for garden, plant, conservation and wildlife photography.

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World's smallest water lily stolen from Kew Gardens after being dug up

A rare plant has been stolen from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew after being dug up from a shallow water lily pond.

Nymphaea Thermarum plant Credit: Metropolitan Police

The 'Nymphaea Thermarum' was stolen from the Princess of Wales Conservatory.

The plant went missing between 8:30am and 14:55pm on Thursday, 9 January 2014 Credit: Metropolitan Police

The plant vanished on Thursday, 9 January 2014. Anyone with information is asked to call police on 020 8721 5934.

"Fluke" that more people were not killed at Kew Gardens

An inquest into the death of a woman from a falling tree branch at Kew Gardens has been told it was a "fluke" that more people did not die in the same manner.

Erena Wilson, a 31 year old account executive, died while walking in the gardens with friends last year.

She was hit by a cedar branch that fell from a tree during bad weather.

John McLinden QC, counsel for Miss Wilson's family, told the inquest at West London Coroner's Court: "It was just a fluke that there was not more than one fatality or that other people did not suffer very serious injury."

He said that in the past Kew has taken steps to protect the public from falling branches, such as putting up warnings and cordoning off areas, but "these steps seem to have fallen away, for reasons that the family do not know".

The inquest continues.

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Kew glasshouse restoration

The Temperate House at Kew Gardens was due to shut because of its deteriorating state. However, multi-million pound grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and private donations means a five-year restoration scheme can now go ahead.

The 150 year-old Grade 1 listed building is home to the South African Cycad and the Chilean Wine Palm, the world's tallest glasshouse plant.

Martin Stew spoke to the Head of Glasshouses at Kew Gardens, Greg Redwood.

Famous glasshouse saved at Kew

The Temperate House has been saved from closure

The world's largest surviving Victorian glasshouse has been saved, after Kew Gardens managed to raise the £33m needed to repair it.

Temperate House was due for closure in its 150th anniversary year due to health and safety fears, but thanks to gifts and DEFRA and lottery grants it can now survive.

Orchid display opens

Abrand new exhibition of Orchids opens in Kew Gardens today for those wanting toescape the wintry weather for a taste of the tropics.

The Princess of Wales Conservatory in the south-west London gardens has been transformed into a sea of glorious flowers in order to celebrate of the colour, drama and beauty associated with this extraordinary and diverse group of plants.

Vibrant orchids will dominate the lush, wet tropical zone of the conservatory. Stunning displays of swirling colour will adorn the glasshouse pillars and arches. Hanging baskets will explode with a range of colours, creating waves of magnificent hues.

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