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Wisley's New Beginning - a Mediterranean Makeover, with Sabatino Urzo

Posted by Sara Draycott on 24 Feb 2014 at 02:22 PM

Dear Nation of Gardeners, Buongiorno!

It has been a while since my last blog, but here we are, again with more exciting horticultural news for the enlargement of our science issues, design and education.  As you are aware part of our Society's work is to engage our effort with you! The Royal Horticultural Society's community source as well as public, gardeners, amateurs and anyone want to share knowledge and expertise with us. Here at Wisley in the Hardy Ornamental section the Woodland team is fronting a significant expansion. The creation of a new Mediterranean Walk that will show off an electrifying collection of Mediterranean plants for the future of the British horticulture.
Our Head of Science Dr Alistair Griffiths and his team have already declared the importance of this issue - Gardening in a changing climate - Announcing also our imperative mission that will ask us all to share the impact of this ground-breaking matter. 

Fig.1 Mediterranean Maquis, Capri Island

The reason I decided to deep myself into this remarkable development was after coming back to England from a gardening expedition, visiting and working in some of the greatest Mediterranean gardens and landscapes of southern west of Europe precisely in Northern West of Italy and Southern East of France. But also my extensive voyages crossways the Mediterranean Basin. The new project will transform this area into a new educational walk that will lead the public on a journey across the Mediterranean climate regions of the world; Australia, Chile, South Africa, California and Mediterranean Basin. The walk, in its own style is almost-linear just over 150m and will be the longest outdoors Mediterranean walk in Britain.


Fig.2: The Walk, Wisley

Through this expansion we are aiming to transfer our enthusiasm to you of course, our friends! to contribute to the Society's environmental issues and to engage, share and to trial Mediterranean plants that often are endorsed as epitome for gardens. However, everything is “work in progress” at the moment, for those people intrigued by this exciting expansion and wants to have an outline of the new gardens; the RHS event team has arranged public tours that I will lead on the National Gardening Weekend. The Walk will also connect you into what I define a hidden heaven that perhaps is not very highlighted due to its remote location but still there for you! A Dell Area of a Jurassic touch as well as an eccentric Stumpery that is fashioning a picturesque woodland scenario and wildlife habitat.

Fig: 3 Rock movements for the new South African walk

Lots of excitement but sad news as well such as the loss of few eucalyptuses around those areas due to harsh weather circumstance of the last few weeks has opened a door to additional inspiring opportunity as previously mentioned by Colin Crosbie, garden curator. I have added on my plan an additional adjustment of the surrounding landscape that will rediscover the importance of those enchanting trees, highlighting an extraordinary Eucalyptus plantation as well as the introduction of new young trees. Myself, Matthew Pottage and Alistair Penstone are very keen to encourage new Eucalyptus trees in the area as they are quick growers and many species reach great height in only few years. I am looking for a striking balance between what is old and what is new


Fig.: 4 Mediterranean Terraces - Work in progress

Please come along and feel free to tap my shoulder if you wish to have a conversation with me – I will be very happy. We really hope all these revolutionary movements will catch your curiosity and interest as well as the matter of sharing our appetite of plantsmanship and sustainable horticulture encouraging wildlife aspects with both aesthetic and ornamental value. 

Keep following our inspirational team for further updating.

I will see you around then,

Sabatino Urzo


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