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Borde Hill plants put on map

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Sat nav technology used to plot plant map

16 March 2010

The garden at Borde Hill

The renowned collection of trees and shrubs at Borde Hill in West Sussex is to be mapped and electronically catalogued, creating the first comprehensive record of the Grade II* listed garden in nearly 80 years.

A grant of £25,000 from English Heritage will allow the use of satellite navigation technology to survey the site and pinpoint the exact location of every specimen within the 17-acre garden and its wider parkland setting. These will then be recorded along with background information about each plant on a database.

The last time the garden was catalogued was in 1935, when its creator, Colonel Stephenson Clarke, listed some 5,000 specimens in a bound volume. Most of them were botanical treasures brought to him from all over the world by the great Victorian plant hunters he sponsored, including such legendary figures as Frank Kingdon Ward, George Forrest and Ernest Wilson.

'Gardens from this period are often particularly vulnerable due to their complexity,' says Charlotte McLean of English Heritage. 'This survey will help those responsible for managing the gardens to assess the survival and condition of the plants.'

Borde Hill, an RHS Recommended Garden, is open from 22 March until 12 September, and also for the last week of October.

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