Charles Darwin’s mistletoe

To Down House, Kent (actually London Borough of Bromley these days). This is Charles Darwin’s place, and I’m here with Judy John of Bromley Council and Toby Beasley of English Heritage to discuss planting mistletoe in the grounds and nearby. Down House and garden are owned by EH.

The whole area has been proposed as a World Heritage Site – to be known as “Darwin at Downe” by the Government (Downe village has an E, Down House doesn’t). Judy is the Bromley’s WHS Project Officer and is promoting Darwin’s association with a range of nearby sites – the field where he undertook his famous earthworm studies, and the grassland bank where he investigated orchids etc. Darwin also studied mistletoe – and that’s where I come in.

We’re running a mistletoe workshop (Magical Mistletoe) here on Saturday 25th where I’ll be outlining mistletoe biology and then taking groups out to try and re-establish mistletoe in the great man’s old haunts. These will include areas adjoining the garden but also some sites futher afield. Lots of links to the Greater London Mistletoe Plan – but also to Darwin himself. The event starts at High Elms Nature Centre at 11.00 – but booking is essential; phone 020 8461 7646 or email

Today’s visit is just a recce – but a very satisfying one for me, as I’ve always been a Darwin fan.

Later I have a quick trip into Hounslow- to suss out other potential mistletoe sites at Bedfont Lakes Country Park, just off the A30. A very different sort of site, but just as impressive in its own way. But more on this site another time….

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