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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

Busy spring days at Wisley

Posted by Jim Gardiner on 24 Mar 2010 at 04:09 PM

Well I say, what a difference a few days make.  As the temperature rises, so the jobs needing to be undertaken increases.  We've held back, or been held back, by the weather, and all of a sudden it's all rush, rush, rush.  And with all this, I still see visitors, staff, and catch myself, stopping mid-path to try to work out just where a particular fragrance has come from, often a winter-flowering honeysuckle like Lonicera x purpusii or witch hazel, like this Hamamelis 'Aprhodite' in the Wild Garden, still flowering at the end of March.  Incredible!



We've been busy on turf maintenance, aerating the soil with a hollow-tine machine and top-dressing with sand.  We've been pruning back the Hydrangea macrophylla and H. paniculata on Battleston Hill.  We've been doing an awful lot of seed sowing and dividing of herbaceous perennials this week, and mulching the borders, putting stakes in place for climbers and tall perennials. 



Our seed sowing tasks this week have included direct sowing of beetroot outside, and inside, we're sowing tomatoes (for growing under glass), and flowers such as salvias and rudbeckias for the summer.  We'll be planting the first potatoes soon - traditionally a job carried out on Good Friday.  Already on the Model Vegetable Plot we have rhubarb and radishes on the way, plus a range of cut'n'come leaves such as rocket, mibuna, mizuna, pak choi, and more grown in containers under the protection of glass.  The container grown carrots are germinating well too. 


Outside, the glorious spring is entertaining the eyes with another flush of crocuses at the very top of Weather Hill, though this week will probably be the last of them.  Camellias are about to steel the show, and more and more daffodils are coming out by the day - the arboretum is looking lovely with wide rides of them.  Inside the Alpine House (the entire Rock and Alpine area is a delight) you'll see a treasure trove of intricate flowers.  What a lovely time of year!



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on 25 Mar 2010 at 08:18 PM