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Jim Gardiner

Jim Gardiner Director of Horticulture RHS Garden Wisley

Jim Gardiner is the recently appointed Director of Horticulture for the Royal Horticultural Society and has previously been Curator and Chief Curator based at Wisley for over twenty years. Before that he was Curator at the Hillier Gardens and Arboretum. His primary interest is in woody plants, in particular Magnolias on which he has written two books, “Magnolias, their Care and Cultivation” and “Magnolias, A Gardener’s Guide”.

  • Date Joined: 12 Jul 2007

Plenty to see in the Garden

Posted by Jim Gardiner on 05 Feb 2010 at 05:27 PM

There is plenty to see around the Garden. This is a magical time of year, with the snowdrops slightly delayed by the cold weather. We usually see plenty in January, but February is set to provide us with a beautiful carpet of white. See them up close in the Alpine areas, and in woodland settings of the Wild Garden. The hoop petticoat daffodils are already starting to emerge on the Alpine Meadow - they'll be a beautiful sight. And the crocuses are just waiting for a sunny day to open into a sea of purple and blue, white and yellow around the garden. Don't forget to look out for the hepaticas in the Alpine Display House.

This year the Hamamelis (witch hazels) are particularly attractive, in bright yellows like 'Wisley Supreme' in the Wild Garden to fiery orange (look for 'Orange Peel' on Battleston Hill) or even red. Sarcococcas, winter-flowering honeysuckles and daphnes are filling the air with fragrance too. The cold weather has meant they are still flowering strongly.  Camellias are joining the show, although they are must susceptible to frost damaged flowers. Right now, though, another personal favourite of mine are the furry buds on the magnolias. It's all part of the anticipation of their glorious flowers to come.

Battleston Hill is very special at this time of year. More unusual shrubs like Edgeworthia chrysantha 'Red Dragon' are about to burst forth into flower too. Hellebores are starting to perform at their best all over the garden, with an assortment of flower colours and patterns, and it fills me with excitement just watching the small signs of spring as everyday more bulbs start to emerge and every day we get a little extra light in the evening. That gives us all more time to enjoy gardening.


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