News from the gardening world
Mammoth exhibition of varieties is the world’s largest
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