Nurseries as far apart as Scotland and Somerset are helping to realise the dream garden of an English plantsman kidnapped by Colombian armed guerrillas in 2000.
Tom Hart Dyke has been hard at work at his family home, Lullingstone Castle in Kent, since 2003, aiming to create the World Garden of Plants. He visualised the project during his nine months in captivity after being captured while looking for rare orchids.
While the structure of the garden is near to completion, Hart Dyke has appealed to nurseries across the UK to help with sourcing plants for his design (HW, 3 June 2004).
His aim is to show how almost 80 per cent of the plants grown in British gardens have been introduced from other parts of the world, while acknowledging the work of the plant hunters responsible, including Joseph Banks, Robert Fortune and David Douglas.
Over 100 nurseries and growers have already responded, with many supplying more than one species. Hart Dyke said: “I have had an amazing response — and from such a wide collection of nurseries. It makes the creation of a world map so much more possible.”
He is seeking more than 5,000 species for the garden. A six-part BBC documentary, to be screened in 2006, will follow Hart Dyke in his attempt to get the garden ready to open this Easter.
Nurseries wanting to help should call 01322 860762 or email email@example.com.
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