" I was a visitor to the castle yesterday, and was so taken with everything, that I would like to sign up for your newsletter. I shall spread the word to all my friends. The plants are out of this world!" (June 2014)
On 16th June 2000, during Tom's 9-month kidnap ordeal in the Colombian jungle, Tom opened his diary and began plans for a garden which would contain plants from around the globe planted in their respective continents of origin.
This plan would eventually become ‘The World Garden of Plants’.
Tom Hart Dyke is a modern day plant hunter who follows in the traditions of the plant hunters of old who risked life and limb in pursuit of fantastic blooms and plants.
Tom’s World Garden pays homage to the amazing achievements of Victorian and Edwardian plant hunters who brought back the plants and flowers we now cherish and grow in our gardens in the UK.
Established in 2005, the World Garden of Plants continues to grow and build year on year, adding rare and important botanical plants to its collection.
An example of the Dinosaur Tree (Wollemi Pine), the oldest tree in the world, is planted close to Ayers Rock (Uluru) in the Australian border.
The rare and beautiful Eucalyptus Silver Princess flowered for the first time in the UK ever within the grounds in 2006.
Penstemon ‘Crac’s Delight’ (left), discovered by Tom in 1999 and named after his Granny, now blooms in Mexico.
Awaiting official recognition, the Dahlia 'Lullingstone Castle', a big pink-petaled, yellow-centred single flower, was discovered in the World Garden in 2009.
There are innumerable other horticultural delights for visitors to see, smell and touch, including the stinky Dog Pooh plant (Hoodia gordonii) the world's most dangerous plant, the Queensland Stinger (Dendrocnide moroides) and the hottest chilli - Dorset naga.
Also watch out for...
Europa riding Zeus, a baobab tree made from 51km of wire, totem poles blessed by our very own Native American Reg, Colin the Cobra hiding in South Asia, a fully functioning weather station, a dazzling Pineapple sculpture, Ayers Rock (Uluru) that Tom posed on for a local version of Calendar Girls, and much more.