News from the gar­den­ing world

Mam­moth ex­hi­bi­tion of va­ri­eties is the world’s largest

Garden News (UK) - - Contents - Words Ian Hodg­son

An as­ton­ish­ing dis­play of toma­toes at the Na­tional Botanic Gar­dens of Ire­land, Glas­nevin, has beaten the cur­rent world record for the great­est num­ber of dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties staged in a sin­gle ex­hibit. Part of the gar­dens’ To­tally Ter­rific Tomato Fes­ti­val held in late Au­gust, a team of 44 vol­un­teer gar­den­ers and grow­ers clubbed to­gether to stage 256 dif­fer­ent types, beat­ing the 241 staged by The World Tomato So­ci­ety at Los Gatos, Cal­i­for­nia in 2017 and au­then­ti­cated by Guin­ness World Records.

Cur­rent and heir­loom va­ri­eties from around the world were sourced and spe­cially grown for the ex­hibit, with 120 grown at Glas­nevin, and the rest do­nated ex­ter­nally. Va­ri­eties in­cluded old favourite ‘Ailsa Craig’ to ‘Zlatava’, with orange skin and red flesh. Among more un­usual and tasty va­ri­eties were ‘Dark Gal­axy’, with mot­tled red and black skin, and ‘Brad’s Atomic Grape’, an elon­gated cherry type pro­duc­ing multi-coloured berries.

Al­though the Glas­nevin at­tempt was not of­fi­cially scored by Guin­ness stew­ards at the Dublin-based gar­dens, the achieve­ment was cap­tured for pos­ter­ity. “We recorded it on video and pho­tographed the ta­bles. So, while not of­fi­cial, it beats the pre­vi­ously claimed world record,” said Gar­dens Di­rec­tor Dr Matthew Jebb. The gar­den had al­ready staged 202 va­ri­eties in 2017.

“It was only on the day it­self we re­alised we would over­take the record. Within three days of start­ing (to stage the ex­hibit) we had al­ready lost a num­ber of va­ri­eties to de­cay, so over the fort­night it grad­u­ally whit­tled away.” Gar­den staff have now har­vested the seeds in prepa­ra­tion for next year’s fes­ti­val to try to grow even more. l Visit www.botanic gar­dens.ie for more in­for­ma­tion.

Above, ‘Dark Gal­axy. Left, part of Glas­nevin’s huge ex­hi­bi­tion

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