Botanical illustration is a genre that requires accurate and detailed observation and water colour technique using numerous washes of colour, one on top of the other, to give a deep and intricate record of the specimen. This artistic form has its roots in the 15th century when herbal books describing culinary and medicinal uses of plants were printed containing scientific illustrations of flowers and plants. In the 17th century, wealthy patrons commissioned artists to record new and exotic plants as they reached Europe from all over the world. Modern-day florilegia record collections of, often endangered, plants from particular sites.
It should therefore come as no surprise that there is a thriving florilegium which records the rare and endangered trees of the National Pinetum at Bedgebury. The Bedgebury Pinetum Florilegium Society was established in 2009 and comprises 12 highly talented botanical artists.
This exhibition represents just some of the works of art that have been undertaken by members of the florilegium and which capture the detail of the beautiful and rare trees to be found at the National Pinetum.
The National Pinetum at Bedgebury is recognised as one of the most complete collections of conifers on one site anywhere in the world, and is a centre for international conservation. It contains over 12,000 tree specimens growing across 320 acres including rare, endangered and historically important specimens, not only of conifers but also of beautiful broadleaf trees.
The collection was started in the 1840s by the Beresford Hope family and was greatly improved following its acquisition by the Forestry Commission in 1925 who managed it jointly with Kew Gardens. Over the years, the Pinetum has developed links with other conservation organisations across the world and the dendrology team has gained an international reputation for their extensive knowledge of conifers and their propagation.
The Pinetum is recognised as a site of international scientific interest in tree conservation and is now cared for by the Forestry Commission for people, wildlife and trees. Bedgebury Forest offers facilities for people of all ages and abilities to enjoy healthy outdoor activities such as walking, running, cycling and adventure play. For further information about Bedgebury National Pinetum & Forest visit www.forestry.gov.uk/bedgebury
The Friends of Bedgebury Pinetum is a charitable organisation that aims to promote tree-related engagement, research and learning at Bedgebury, one of the finest conifer collections in the world. The Charity’s objectives are to support the Forestry Commission in its management of Bedgebury as a world-class centre of conifer research, conservation and education, a landscape of rare and endangered flora and fauna and as a site for high quality, healthy recreation.
For further information pick up our latest members’ magazine at the Artichoke Gallery or visit our website: www.bedgeburypinetum.org.uk.