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Bringing Eucalyptus to Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

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Tom Hart Dyke Tom Hart Dyke | 10:50 UK time, Friday, 8 July 2011

Tom Hart Dyke's Eucalyptus stand at Plant Heritage Marquee

Tom Hart Dyke's Eucalyptus stand at Plant Heritage Marquee

It's with heaps of horticulturally endowed excitement that I Tom Hart Dyke - 'The Gum Nut' (a person obsessed with Eucalyptus Trees!) can exclusively reveal to you that we achieved a Silver-Gilt Medal at our first ever RHS show - Hampton Court. This is the first time at a flower show in this country that there's been an exhibit of my beloved Eucalyptus as a national collection.

All of my chlorophyll has reached boiling point and has transferred itself into steam through my ear holes, nostrils and jaw dropped mouth - bloggers it's been overwhelming stupendous. From the months and months of preparations, to the 4 day build-up leading to press day on Monday - the entire World Garden Team have been absolutely superb. It's been such a team effort.

Righty-ho, allow me to back track to how this exciting endeavour came to pass. My inspiration for obtaining the National Collection of Eucalyptus and ultimately putting on a stand at Hampton Court is rather a bizarre story that commenced on June 16th 2000 in the fetid heat of the Colombian Jungle.

A teenage Columbian Guerrilla shoved his AK-47 gun at my temple and said that you've got 5 hours to live! For what I thought would be my last 5 hours, I turned to the two blank centre pages of my diary and started scribbling embryonic plans on creating a National Collection of Eucalyptus. Many of which were collected with an RHS bursary plant hunting grant during my ground breaking 4 month plant hunting trip to Tasmania in early 1999.

Eucalyptus regnans

The world's tallest flowering plant, Eucalyptus regnans "The Mountain Ash" - at well over 100 metres tall it's very exciting!

With the added lucid thought of staging these wonderful woody plants at a flower show I've adored since the age of ten - Hampton Court. When I was going to die I also started designing The World Garden that I wanted to create at my family home at Lullingstone Castle. I was in captivity for 9 months from March 16th - December 16th - It was an Orchid Hunting expedition that I should have never ventured on. But without this experience I wouldn't be exhibiting at Hampton Court.

Our exhibit describes and displays a wide range of Eucalypts (plural for Eucalyptus) including the origins, uses and ornamental qualities of this cracking genus. Our stand of over 30 species, which are mostly frost hardy is staged as a miniature Mainland Australia and Tasmania - using synthetic polystyrene sand coated rocks for the coastline, blue crushed recycled glass for the oceans and sand for the beach coves; having these land masses in miniature in their actual shapes as you see them when you open the Oxford Atlas. This 3-D Design looks splendid! The Australasian part of The World Garden at Lullingstone Castle is coming to Hampton Court! They'll also be a didgeridoo, boomerang and Koala Bear hanging from a Gum Tree (not a real one!).

Visitors to our stand will witness the world's smallest, rarest and largest Eucalyptus (the world's tallest flowering plant!) and realise how much of an important role this spectacular genus plays in our lives today. From Vicks Vaporub, to Fisherman's Friend, soil stabilizer's to building construction to insect repellents. They'll also be a chance to smell the wonderful leaves, stroke the amazing patchwork and peeling bark of these fantastic adaptable plants, whilst being seduced by the sound of the didgeridoo!

The World Garden is exhibiting at Hampton Court because it was my hazy vision in the dark days of my Colombian captivity to have a stand of Eucalyptus at Hampton Court. I've grown up with this wonderful show and I'm living my dream!

'Good Day' - from Tom the 'Gum Nut'.



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