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Green Man’s bat poo wheeze

PUBLISHED: 14:52 04 June 2008 | UPDATED: 15:40 16 August 2010

Bat Men: Tom Hart Dyke and Michael Whitham

Bat Men: Tom Hart Dyke and Michael Whitham

TWO plant enthusiasts who were introduced to each other by the Times have started growing plants at a visitor centre with fertiliser made from bat droppings. Tom Hart Dyke, Times own Green Man correspondent is working with Michael Whitham, an entrepren

TWO plant enthusiasts who were introduced to each other by the Times have started growing plants at a visitor centre with fertiliser made from bat droppings.

Tom Hart Dyke, Times' own Green Man correspondent is working with Michael Whitham, an entrepreneur who is the first person to set up a UK company selling 'bat guano'.

The duo potted up a selection of worldwide plants to test the quality of the organic manure at the World Garden. Lullingstone Castle, Eynsford this month.

Mr Whitham, 27, of Wickham Way, Beckenham, transported 12 tonnes of the small mammals' poo from Indonesia after spending a two-month research trip there. He said: "We did a controlled test whereby we potted up the same plants, some with and some without the bat guano. I'm really excited about seeing the results. We should be able to see something by July. That will be a good first post to see how good it's been. It was great fun at the castle, we used the guano on some very strange species, ones I've never even heard of. Tom was great fun, we had lots of cups of tea and coffee in the potting shed."

The duo used plants from Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa to set the wheels in motion of discovering how effective bat guano can be as a fertilizer on more exotic plant life, as well as the more well known species. Mr Hart Dyke said: "It was a lot of fun. It's a brilliant idea. I have so many different plants to test the fertiliser out on. It's a very interesting product and I'm really looking forward to seeing the results."

He shot to international prominence in 2000 when he was kidnapped in the Panama jungle and held captive for nine months during a plant hunting expedition. It is where he came up with the idea to create a World Garden. His plant obsession has led him on regular globe trotting jaunts to bring back rare and precious flowers to Lullingstone Castle.

katherine.nelson@archant.co.uk

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