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This Week’s Guest Blogger is Tom Hart Dyke

My Gardening Journey!

By Tom Hart Dyke 

Curator  of The World Garden at Lullingstone Castle, Kent

Portrait of Tom Hart Dyke, Award Winning Plant Expert. Writer, Author, Television Presenter, Adventurer. Commissioned by: Mary Dawson http://www.dfmanagement.tv[/caption]

My passion for horticulture started from a young age, my influential and much loved Granny ‘Crac’ gave me a packet of carrot seeds at the age of three and from then on, I was captivated by plants!  Orchids were my first love and fascination; I would often persuade Granny after school to help me scour the long grass of our local golf course in search of wild orchid beauties. After I graduated from Sparsholt College my sense of adventure grew stronger and I followed my plant hunters dream of travelling the world to seek out rare orchids and plants.

Phragmipedum Orchid in the Orchid House at Lullingstone Castle. Photo Credit: Alan Graham

I’ve had some extremely exciting horticulturally endowed trips over my green filled lifetime. It’s been an absolute privilege following in the deep rooted traditions of plant hunters of past and present, travelling to the far flung corners of our green globe, risking life and limb in pursuit of some of the world’s most awe-inspiring plants. My travelling jaunts have taken me to places from the high endemism filled volcanic archipelago of both The Canary Islands & Cape Verde Islands, to down under in Tasmania, seed collecting for the Royal Horticultural Society & Kent Garden’s Trust.

You simply can’t beat observing plants in their native habitat to improve your plant husbandry back home. However not all my plant hunting trips have gone so ‘horticulturally swimmingly’. On March the 16th 2000, whilst Orchid hunting in the rainforest endowed Darien Gap, a friend and I found ourselves on the receiving end of an AK-47 stuck to our temples and were held hostage for 9-months before being released! On 16th June, during my Colombian kidnap ordeal, I opened my diary and began plans for my ‘World Garden’ which would contain plants from around the globe planted in their respective continents of origin. My vision for The World Garden was finally born on Easter Saturday 2005, all made possible by the support of family, friends and the community.  Each year we welcome so many visitors, sharing and inspiring new plant hunters, although I still manage to find time to go travelling to add to my never ending plant collection!

Tom Hart Dyke, Curator of The World Garden at Lullingstone Castle, Kent

www.lullingstonecastle.co.uk

Aerial Photograph of Lullingstone Castle by Stephen Sangster

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