One of the many advantages of voluneering in the Gardens is that from time to time I hold a workshop to help our staff and volunteers get to know a bit more about our collection and this week we have been getting to know Conifers. What better way to spend one of the first frosty, crisp and sunny days of the winter finding out more about some of these remarkable trees which literaly form the backbone to our Garden.
Exbury Gardens are of course well known for the unique collection of Rhododendrons but less commonly known is that we have a fantastic collection of Conifers hailing from all four corners of the world. Contrary to popular opinion this is much more diverse and dare we say interesting group of plants than you may first assume.
Our collection includes all five Genus of the deciduious conifers as well as a representative from nearly all 67 Genera currently known to science.
We are lucky enough to have a 'Champion Tree' amongst the collection. The Fokienia hodginsii is native to southeastern China, central Vietnam and west to northern Loas and is a very rare tree in cultivation. Being a 'Champion Tree' means that it is the largest specimen of its kind the the country. The photo below shows me standing underneath it. You may well be thinking, 'that doesn't look very big', but Fokienia is very tender and extremly difficult to grow in this country and as a consequence very slow growing. This specimen was recorded at 6'6'' tall in 1967 and as you can see it is still under 20'!
If you would like to spend some time in the Gardens during the winter months then you may like to consider joining our fabulous team of volunteers, just give us a call for more details.