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For further media details, please Fiona Hooper on the above number or Peter Burks, Managing Director at Sanders GardenWorld®, on (direct dial) . Alternatively, please contact Porcupine PR on , email or visit

Garden centre one of the first to stock Jurassic tree

Rose named ‘Jill’ launched for Babe’s Big Appeal

Circus returns to Somerset garden centre this Christmas

Garden centre one of the first to stock Jurassic tree

VISITORS to Sanders GardenWorld® in Somerset from October 2006 will have the chance to see and buy one of the World’s oldest and rarest plants as a Christmas gift.

The county’s largest purpose-built garden centre has been selected as one of only two stores to be the first in the UK to display and sell the prehistoric Wollemi Pine from October and will be distributing orders to customers from May 2007. Order on line now

The Wollemi Pine was rescued from extinction only 12 years ago and Sanders GardenWorld® will be stocking some of the first plants to be sold within the UK retail industry.

Peter Burks, Managing Director of Sanders GardenWorld®, said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity and a real coup to be able to offer our customers this unique and previously thought-to-be extinct tree.

“The tree, which is hardy and is easy to look after, will make a fantastic Christmas present to keen gardeners who love unique and unusual plants. The certificates will be available for Christmas, so can be given as presents and the plants will follow in May 2007.” 

There are fewer than 100 adult Wollemi Pine trees in the wild and there is currently an international conservation programme taking place to help the species, which existed when dinosaurs ruled the earth. The scheme encourages wide spread planting of the tree to enable it to withstand global environmental changes and to adapt to different habitats.  

The tree was discovered in Australia in 1994. It is a conifer with unusual dark green foliage, bubbly bark and multiple trunks.

Bruce Harnett, Managing Director of Kernock Park Plants in Cornwall, the sole grower and supplier of the Wollemi Pine in the UK, said: “We chose Sanders GardenWorld® in Brent Knoll as a site to stock the Wollemi Pine due to its outstanding reputation in the horticultural trade as a well-established plant retailer backed by an experienced and expert management team. We know the staff will take care of this rare plant and advise purchasers appropriately.”

The Wollemi Pine can be easily pruned and kept as a multi-stemmed shrub or even as a house plant. It makes an ideal plant for patio containers as it does not become root bound. However, it can reach up to 40 metres high in the wild and has a trunk diameter of more than one metre. It is only expected to reach 20 metres in height as a park or garden plant as it will not be competing for light with other plants.

It has unusual pendulous foliage and light apple green new tips in spring and early summer, contrasting against the older dark green foliage.

Peter continued: “It is perfect to use as a focal point for a garden or even placed in a special Jurassic plot containing other plants with pre-historic connections.”

Another unique feature of the conifer is its pattern of branching with the mature foliage having two ranks of leaves along the branches. Its bark is also distinct even from related species - looking very much like bubbling chocolate. The Wollemi Pine’s closest living relatives are the Monkey Puzzle tree and Norfolk Island Pine.

The pine was known from fossil records and presumed extinct until it was discovered in 1994 by a bushwalker in the Wollemi National Park just outside Sydney, Australia. Dubbed the botanical find of the century, it is now the focus of extensive research to conserve this ancient species.

Some of the older adult Wollemi Pines such as ‘The Bill Tree’ may be more than 1,000 years old. Due to the Wollemi Pine’s habit of sprouting multiple trunks (called coppicing) the current trunk of ‘The Bill Tree’ may only be up to 400 years old but the tree’s roots could have been around since the time of the Roman Empire.

Although fewer than 100 adult trees remain, they were thought to be widespread across Gondwana, an ancient supercontinent that existed before Australia broke off from Antarctica and began its movement north. The oldest known Wollemi Pine type fossil dates back 90 million years and it is believed that the pines may have existed since the Jurassic period 200 million years ago. Before it was rediscovered in 1994, it was presumed extinct for around two million years.

The Wollemi Pine will be on display at Sanders GardenWorld® from October 2006. People will be able to place orders, in-store or via mail order, from October and the trees will be distributed in May 2007. The pine costs £125 and will be around 18 inches high when delivered to customers next year.

For further details about the Wollemi Pine, please contact the garden centre on or visit

For further media details, please contact Peter Burks, Managing Director of Sanders GardenWorld®, on (direct dial). Alternatively, please contact Porcupine PR on , email or visit

Photograph caption: Paul Gilmour, Head of Hardy and Bedding Plants at Sanders GardenWorld®, next to a Wollemi Pine, which will be on sale at the garden centre from October.  (Click on picture left for full size image)



Circus returns to Somerset garden centre this Christmas

We are pleased to announce  that the circus will be returning to its Brent Knoll site this Christmas as part of its festive celebrations.

Sanders GardenWorld®, which is located just off junction 22 of the M5, has asked one of the country’s best known circus troupes, Circus Americano to return to the site from December 4 for 28 days to wow visitors in their big top for the second year running.

Garden centre Managing Director, Peter Burks explained: “Circus Americano was a huge hit with people both young and old last year. It was a spectacular show so we have asked them back to perform a new festive routine this Christmas.”

The troupe will be in their big top at the Brent Knoll garden centre from December 4 for 28 days and will be hosting shows on weekdays at 5pm and 7pm daily, on Saturdays at 2pm, 5pm and 7.30pm and on Sundays at 2pm and 5pm. 

This year the show, which does not include animals, will feature performances from the UK’s only white faced traditional popolinof clown, Popol as well as the troupe’s two other clowns Kakehole and Mini Me.

Peter added: “We will also be hosting a special VIP show on the opening night, Monday, December 4 and more details will be announced at a later date.”

“There will also be shows on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, so those who want to celebrate Christmas and the start of 2007 with a difference can come along and enjoy the performances.”

Tickets for the circus go on sale on September 1, 2006 from Sanders GardenWorld®. Adult premier tickets cost £12 and children/OAP tickets cost £10. Ring side seats cost £10 for adults and £8 for children/OAPs and ordinary tickets are priced at £8 for adults and £6 for children/OAPs. 

For more information, please call the garden centre on

 Rose named ‘Jill’ launched for Babe’s Big Appeal

A NEW rose is being launched this week to tie in with National Children’s Hospice Week (September 16 – 23, 2006) and help raise vital funds for the Children’s Hospice South West’s (CHSW) Babe’s Big Appeal.

‘The Jill Farwell Rose’, named after the late co-founder of CHSW, will be unveiled in Somerset in Jill’s memory this Friday (September 22), to link with the anniversary of her death. The rose has been grown especially for the charity thanks to a partnership with Sanders GardenWorld®, Brent Knoll and national grower Paul Chessum Roses.

Sanders GardenWorld® Managing Director, Peter Burks explained: “CHSW is a charity that is well supported by the local community and we’re keen to add our backing. The garden centre already operates a good mail order service on nearly every item stocked in store, including plants. When we were offered the chance to have this rose from Paul Chessum Roses, we thought it would be an excellent opportunity to help raise funds for the charity not just locally but on a national level via mail order.”

CHSW, currently the only provider of specialist hospice care for children in the region, offers much needed support for the child and their family through what can be a very difficult and emotional time. The charity supports more than 200 families each year at Little Bridge House, Fremington, near Barnstaple, North Devon.

The increasing demand on the hospice’s service means there is a vital need to provide a second children’s hospice. ‘Charlton Farm’, at Wraxall, North Somerset is seeing the restoration of some unique farm buildings, conserving the peaceful tranquillity of the surrounding countryside.

Charlton Farm will double the hospice’s provision, offering care in a home-from-home environment, to children suffering from life-threatening illnesses and their families.

The unscented patio rose, which was named by staff at Little Bridge House, grows to approximately 45cm high. It has mid-green foliage and pink flowers to reflect the pink roses around the door at Little Bridge House.

Hundreds of bare root plants will be available at the end of September priced at £6.99 each with £2 from each sale going directly to CHSW. Every rose sold will come with care instructions and further details of the charity and its work.

Peter added: “If the bare root stock sells well, we will stock potted plants from January 2007 and these will be available for around £10.99 each, with £3 being donated to the charity per plant. We are able to take orders for bare root roses and put aside plants for customers before the stock comes in at the end of the month.”

The rose is also for sale at Trelawney @ Ashford Garden Centre, Barnstaple, which has selected CHSW as its Charity of the Year, and is closely linked with the organisation as it is located not far from Little Bridge House. Trelawney @ Ashford Garden Centre is working in partnership with Sanders GardenWorld® to promote the rose.

Director of Fundraising from CHSW, George Cameron said: “We are delighted to be supported by Sanders GardenWorld®. I hope with their help we will encourage more businesses in the area to become involved in making the most of these short and precious lives.”

To place orders for the roses, please call Sanders GardenWorld® on or visit For further details on CHSW, please visit and or call .

The garden centre is able to offer a mail order service and can quote on P&P for both potted and bare root plants on request.