The World of Conifers at Lullingstone Castle

PUBLISHED: 17:04 17 August 2014

Tom Hart-Dyke at Lullingstone

Tom Hart-Dyke at Lullingstone

Rikard Osterlund

This Bank Holiday weekend, 22-25 August, why not head to Lullingstone for the annual celebration of a particular family of plants - this year the focus is on conifers, which range from the tallest living thing in the world to the tree that underpins the global forestry industry

Lullingstone Castle’s owner Tom Hart Dyke says: “Conifers have inspired me as a modern-day plant hunter - so it’s about time we celebrated this eclectic, wacky family of plants”.

Every continent in the world except Antarctica is blessed with a kaleidoscopic indigenous range of conifers and they are among the rarest and oldest plants in existence.

Britain only has three native conifers – the Common Yew, Scots Pine

and the Juniper, but Lullingstone is home to a delightfully eclectic mix of other conifers. The oldest conifers are situated adjacent to the manor house at Lullingstone in the form of a trio of Lebanese Cedars dating back to around 1800.

Unusual conifers can also be found in Lullingstone’s arboretum – the first of which was planted by Lady Emily Hart Dyke in 1890 in the form of the deciduous broad-leaved, prehistoric, Ginkgo biloba, commonly known as the Maidenhair Tree.

The World Garden also boasts a number of species including one of the smallest conifers in the world, which is rarely found in cultivation.

On each of the four days Tom will lead guided tours of the World Garden at 12:30 and 2:30pm. A specialist will also be on site to advise and sell a range of conifers.

Some key conifer facts, to whet your appetite (all of these can be located in The World Garden):

- The tallest living organism in the world is the Californian Redwood,

from North West America

- Prumnopitys taxifolia from New Zealand is currently in full leaf but

its leaves are mostly rusty brown so it actually looks very dead!

- Tasmania is home to one of the smallest conifers, reaching only 6

inches in height but 3 feet in width. Very rare to find in cultivation, visitors can see one on display in the World Garden.

- The Monterey Pine is the most widely planted conifer in the world,

being an essential component of the worldwide forestry industry; being used for a wide range of applications including construction, wood pulp to shelter belt planting on exposed , coastal sites.

- The Nordmann Fir hails from the mountainous regions of Turkey &

Georgia and is familiar to many of us in December as the “non-needle drop” Christmas Tree.

Admission:

11am – 5pm

Adults: £7, Senior Citizens: £6.50, Child: £4, Family Ticket: £18

www.lullingstonecastle.co.uk

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