THE Prince of Wales had his horticultural hat on as he toured the world’s largest seed bank yesterday.

Prince Charles, who is known as a keen gardener, visited The Millennium Seed Bank at Wakehurst, near Ardingly.

His Royal Highness dropped in to catch up on progress at the site – which is used and managed by the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew.

When Prince Charles opened the striking glass building back in 2000, the aim was to gather ten per cent of the world’s wild seeds by 2010.

Today, it represents the largest wild seed conservation project in the world, with 2.25 billion seeds from 190 countries.

Charles has been patron of Kew Gardens since 2016.

Yesterday he visited the Surviving Or Thriving exhibition, based on the State of the Worlds Plants and Fungi reports.

The Prince also visited the underground seed vault where he learnt more about the processes involved in freezing seeds.

The visit progressed outside to the nursery and propagation area, where Ed Ikin, head of landscape and horticulture at Wakehurst, explained how Kew’s science and the horticulture teams work together to propagate species for the future.

Children from St Peter’s Primary School in Ardingly who were in the Children’s Heritage Garden at the time, were excited to see His Royal Highness as they took part in a lesson organised by Wakehurst’s schools programme.

The visit ended at Wakehurst’s stunning Coronation Meadow, created in response to a request by His Royal Highness for wild meadows to be planted in celebration of the 60th anniversary of The Queen’s Coronation.

Tony Sweeney, director of Wakehurst, said: “It was a great honour and pleasure to welcome His Royal Highness to the Millennium Seed Bank and Wakehurst today.

“We were extremely proud to show some of the amazing work being achieved by science and horticulture teams whose work in the laboratories and nurseries is being translated into the botanic gardens and woodlands around us.

“This is something we hope everyone can enjoy for years to come.”