The World Garden at Lullingstone Castle

My inspiration for the World Garden was born in the depths of despair in the Colombian jungle on an orchid hunting expedition that went so drastically pear-shaped! At Midday on June 16th 2000, three months into mine and my friend, Paul Winder’s 9 month kidnap ordeal - we were told to prepare to die that night care of an AK-47 gun! I decided that the best course of action would be to spend my final day on earth designing my dream garden! It was a way of me dealing with the terrifying situation.

I spent the remainder of the day drawing plans, in my diary, for a World Garden – containing the plants I had collected from across the globe, planted out in their respective countries of origin. I wanted this plant filled extravaganza of a worldly garden to pay homage to the amazing achievements of plant hunters especially during the Victorian and Edwardian era, who brought back the plants and flowers we now cherish, take for granted and grow in our gardens in the UK. 80% on average, of what we grow in our gardens isn’t from the UK at all. This garden will educate human beings on the origin of a wide range of ornamentally endowed plant life.

 Now as I type these enthusiast’s words to you, spring 2012 is rapidly approaching and my Colombian AK-47 inspired dream is maturing just nicely. The World Garden @ Lullingstone Castle is located in a 2-acre Tudor & Victorian walled area. One-acre contains the World Garden laid out as a miniature map of the world with plants located in their correct miniature native land masses.

The other acre hosts our ‘Hot & Spikey’ Cactus House, the ‘Cloud Garden’ temperate House & spanking new in 2012, The New Islamic Bulb House, plus our small nursery sales area.

In total our collection currently totals some 6,000 different types of plant taxa! Each month the World Garden continues to grow and develop, with many rare and new important botanical specimens being added to this ground breaking collection.

Being the curator of this awesome horticultural entity is an honour. Being surrounded by so many gorgeous plants and annually greeting some 10,000 like minded plant filled visitors gives me a real sense of passionate purpose coupled with a therapeutic state of mind, not just because gardening is so therapeutic but to know that something so positive came out of that very scary dark Colombian experience.

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