We have just received some very good news. I am pleased to tell you that Guildford Borough Council has given the Heritage & Environment Award 2007 for the best New Building Design to the RHS for the Bicentenary Glasshouse. Details of this and other awards can be found on the Borough's website:>
The Society thank Smiemans Projecten and our architect - Peter Van der Toorn Vrijthoff - who, as building designers, deserve considerable credit for this award.
The Floral Ornamental Department have been working flat out with a Dutch contractor with his bulb planting machine. In the picture you can see Bernard Boardman and Rupert Lambert working with man and machine. They and other members of the team planted 57900 bulbs. Around the Cornus collection on Weather Hill, they've planted Narcissus 'Kokopelli' AGM, 'Toto' AGM and 'Oz' along with Camassia leichtlinii subsp. suksdorfii Caerulea Group and C. cusickii which will produce a field of yellow and blue next year. I can't wait to see it.
We used the machine to speed the process up. Bulb planting can be a back breaking and laborious task sometimes! As the soil was moist, large areas could be planted quickly. The machine peels the turf open and holds it back while the bulbs are planted before laying it flat again. Once it's all done all it needs is a quick rolling to firm down the turf.
The team have also be planting bulbs between the yew hedges behind the Bowes Lyon Pavilion at the top of Weather Hill. Here they will be the rich magenta of Gladiolus communis subsp. byzantinus AGM and the yellow, purple and white of mixed crocuses. Down by the Glasshouse entrance we've planted 6 beds with Allium hollandicum 'Purple Sensation' AGM and in the Teaching Garden nearby we’ve planted 2 beds with this and the white. Allium nigrum.To complement what was done last year, we'll have even more bulbs on Seven Acres too.
Bulbs are so important in the garden, and often overlooked. With a little consideration you can easily find a bulb to flower for every month for any garden. Great successional planting. Here, for instance, the camassias will flower later than other spring bulbs, extending the season for us. They are invaluable for interplanting, or with foliage herbaceous perennials. Think of snowdrops with purple-leaved bergenias, or Ophiopogon planiscapus 'Nigrescens' AGM. They really do extend and link seasons, and there is an enormous range of colours and flower shapes.
Many of our bulbs are from the Keukenhof in the Netherlands as we have a close relationship. Now, they really are experts in bulbs!