On 4 September Richard Deverell, Director of the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew visited the Horticulture Institute of Latvia to receive a special gift - seven unique Latvian lilac varieties. The selected lilac varieties have been created by a well known Latvian horticulturalist Pēteris Upītis.

This visit was made possible thanks to the initiative of Ambassador of Latvia to UK Ms Baiba Braže and Embassy of Latvia to UK who arranged it in cooperation with Horticulture Institute of Latvia, after Kew Gardens had expressed special interest in obtaining the lilac trees for their gardens.

During their visit to Latvia on 3 and 4 September Kew Gardens’representatives visited the Botanical Gardens in Salaspils as well as Riga International Biennale of Contemporary Arts, but most importantly, 4 September was spent in Horticulture Institute of Latvia in the city of Dobele where they visited the laboratories, were introduced to the collections of the Institute and received the lilac varieties together with instructions on how to look after them.

Each of the lilac varieties posesses truly unique qualities, for example, variety 'gaistošais sapnis' or 'evanescent dream' is a rare two colour lilac, however variety 'Liega' blooms when all other lilacs have already stopped blooming. Each of the varieties has been created with love and has its own unique story. Thanks to Pēteris Upītis, the Horticulture Institute of Latvia is proud to have the biggest lilac collection in the Baltics consisting of 240 varieties.

The Latvian lilac varieties will be available at Kew Gardens to the millions of visitors from all over the world, giving Latvia a great gift on its centenary.