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Candide Cuttings: Horticultural Hero, Butterfly Bouceback and Tallest Tropical Tree

Published on 9th April 2019

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Horticultural Hero

Beth Chatto has been named as the RHS’s Iconic Horticultural Hero for 2019.

To celebrate the famous horticulturist, who passed away last year, the Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival will feature a display designed by David Ward, Garden and Nursery Director at The Beth Chatto Gardens.

David gardened alongside Beth Chatto for over 35 years. He will take inspiration from her ecologically sensitive style, to create a garden that would thrive in difficult conditions, with drought-tolerant plants at the forefront.

Downderry Nursery, a lavender and rosemary specialist, has also been announced as the festival’s Master Grower.

Their festival display will include lavender rows and field cultivars for oil production, including a tabletop still running each day to demonstrate how oil is made.

The Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival will run from the 2nd until the 7th of July and more information can be found here.

Butterfly Bounceback

The Large Blue had its best year on record

Two-thirds of UK butterfly species increased from 2017 to 2018, according to the results of the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme (UKBMS).

The UKBMS, now in its 43rd year, involves thousands of volunteers monitoring the abundance of 57 UK butterfly species at 2873 sites across the UK.

The Large Blue and Black Hairstreak had their highest numbers since records began, benefitting from the warm weather. February and March’s cold spell also helped improve caterpillar survival.

However, 2018 was still only an average year for butterflies. 36 species have declined since 1976, 21 of which show significant long-term declines.

Professor Tom Brereton, Associate Director of Monitoring at Butterfly Conservation, said: ‘2018 brought some welcome relief following five below average years in a row. But, there were not as many butterflies around as we might have expected given the fabulous weather over much of the butterfly season and overall 2018 ranked as barely better than average.’

‘This and the fact that two-thirds of butterflies show negative trends over the long-term highlights the scale of the challenge we face in restoring their fortunes and creating a healthier environment.’

A new cross-partnership has also begun to look at butterfly populations across Europe. Read more:

Tallest Tropical Tree

The world’s tallest tropical tree has been discovered by scientists from the UK and Malaysia.

The giant Yellow Maranti, located in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo, is over 100 metres tall and has been named ‘Menara’ - Malay for ‘tower’.

It was first spotted using an airborne Light Detection and Ranging Survey by researchers from the University of Nottingham. Further examination using 3-D scans and drone flights was conducted by researchers from the University of Oxford and the Southeast Asia Rainforest Research Partnership (SEARRP).

The height wasn’t confirmed until Unding Jami, from SEARRP, ascended the tree with a tape measure and clocked it in at 100.8 metres. This would make Menara the tallest flowering plant in the world, as well as the tallest tree in the tropics.

“It was a scary climb.’, said Unding: ‘So windy, because the nearest trees are very distant. But honestly, the view from the top was incredible. I don’t know what to say other than it was very, very, very amazing!”

There may be taller trees out there, but experts believe that they couldn’t beat menara by much, due to constraints imposed by the wind. Wind doesn't pose much of a risk in the sheltered valley Menara currently grows in, allowing it to grow so tall.

Hero image from The Beth Chatto Gardens

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