Bedgebury National Pinetum
The weather so amazing, last weekend, we leapt into the car and made a dash for Bedgebury National Pinetum, in deepest Kent. Mounds of grey, semi-melted snow ringed the car park. With so many 4×4s, its streamlined wooden visitor centre and people struggling in or out of bright, sporty clothes – mountain-bikers and joggers – the atmosphere was reminiscent of an end of season ski resort. An ancient woodland site, bought by The Forestry Commission in 1924, the pinetum is home to more than 10,000 trees: mostly pines – lots of them – that have been planted to replace the native ones.
The thaw had not penetrated the darker recesses in the more densely planted areas. We struggled through and over hummocks of frozen heather, ducking our heads in, out and below the dense foliage of the magnificent trees – ambivalent toward whatever the weather threw at them – in all their winter glory, searching for plant labels. Annoyingly, our having gone there with the specific purpose of photographing as wide a variety as possible, named specimens were few and far between.
Once edited, a selection of those trees we did manage to identify will appear at www. pedrosilmon.com. In the meantime, if anyone can identify the dwarf bush above, please let me know what it is.