Floral diversity displays

The floral diversity displays are grown in front of the main house, at the garden entrance and in the glasshouses. Here the display has been designed to highlight the various methods by which flowering plants are pollinated. These ‘pollination syndromes’ have been organised according to the time period at which they were first thought to have evolved. Flowering plants make up 92% of the world’s flora and have many diverse, often specific, relationships with their pollinators.

Schisandra chinensis a basal angiosperm from China

Near to the main gate beetle pollinated magnolias are grown. Adjacent to these the dragon arum Dracunculus vulgaris is one example of fly pollination producing foul smelling flowers in spring as an attractant. A group of plants including Inula hookeri and Echinops ritro represent plants that attract a range of insect pollinators.

The woodland orchid Epipactis gigantea is pollinated by wasps while Salvia forsskaolii has the distinctive flower lip and nectar guide lines so familiar in bee pollinated flowers.

The pin cushion shaped flowers of Knautia macedonica and the tubular flowers of Lonicera periclymenum attract butterflies and moths.

Bright colours of the sun and sugar bird-pollinated bird of paradise flower Strelitzia reginae grow next to the humming bird-pollinated Salvia elegans and Lobelia laxiflora. The goblet-shaped flowers of Cobea scandens and the hardy banana Musa basjo attract bat pollinators. 

Protea acaulos is pollinated by South African rodents and the Australian Banksia serrata is pollinated by night feeding possums.

Underpinning the display is a planting of grasses restios, birch, hazel and willow, representing plants pollinated by the wind.

Whilst some of the pollinators do not naturally exist in the UK willow sculptures of what would pollinate them in nature are strategically arranged to link plant with pollinator. The display has been attractively planted and is at its best from spring through to the end of November when specimens from the glasshouse are planted outside to augment the display. An interpretation board and colour fliers obtainable from the welcome lodge make this display popular with visitors.