A visit to the gardens of the Royal Horticultural Society

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Dave Moon gave the Kilmersdon Gardeners a wonderful audiovisual tour of the beautiful gardens maintained by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS). Her brilliant photography was choreographed to music and provided a delightful experience.

We have followed the history of RHS since its founding in 1804. Sir Thomas Hanbury, a wealthy Quaker provided the Wisley Estate in Surrey as their headquarters in 1903. The company began testing new plants, training professional gardeners and to present plants to the public in the gardens. Shows like the Chelsea Flower Show and competitions like Britain in Bloom are now part of a traditional British summer. Wisley is an ornamental garden with a diverse collection of plants.

Lady Anne Palmer has traveled extensively and has developed a planters’ paradise on Rosemoor in North Devon. She donated the eight-acre garden with its lake and farmland to RHS in 1988. RHS created a visitor center and a series of gardens with different themes such as the ‘warm garden’ linked to the ancient gardens. Hyde Hall, a working hilltop farm in Essex with herbaceous borders and a vegetable patch, was donated by the Robinsons. A Mediterranean-style dry garden has been created on top of a hill, 50,000 trees planted, the Queen Mother’s garden is heavily planted with roses. Mature eucalyptus trees are the focal point of the Australian and New Zealand garden. Near Harrogate, North Yorkshire, Harlow Carr has been set up for testing plants suitable for northern climates. RHS acquired it in 2001 and established stunning borders with a tapestry of colors and wildflower meadows.

Construction on the fifth and final garden, RHS Bridgewater, near Manchester, began in 2017. The Earl of Ellesmere’s home, Worsley Hall is long gone, but features such as a walled vegetable patch, a bordered garden approach trees and lost terraces are all in the process of being reworked. There will be a Chinese water garden to promote the art, heritage and culture of Chinese gardening. Work began in 2018 on the Woodlands, walled gardens, vegetable, Persian and paradisiacal gardens. The pandemic-delayed opening took place in 2021 when Dave visited to photograph it. We were also treated to photos of Knoll Gardens in Hampshire, one of the gardens that RHS members can access. The tour ended near us in the impressive gardens of the Episcopal Palace in Wells.

December 8 is the gardeners’ Christmas party. The next conference is January 12, 2022

Helena Crouch – Flora of the Cam and Wellow Valleys, 7:30 p.m. at Kilmersdon Village Hall with refreshments and raffle.

Trisha Jordan

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