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Kent Alpine Gardener's Diary

This entry: 30 October 2017 by Tim Ingram

Thoughts on promoting 'Rock Gardening' and the role of the RHS and AGS

This is a comment that I have made on the Social Media (Facebook) after visiting Wisley yesterday for the Fritillaria Group meeting. Because it focusses thoughts and comments I have made before I felt I should share it here too.

This is a personal comment that comes from my involvement with the Alpine Garden Society, the Hardy Plant Society and membership of several other small plant groups, and of the RHS for many years. Walking down to the Alpine Houses at Wisley there were some fascinating and interesting plants on display - particularly of pot grown grown plants in the smaller glasshouse - but the surrounding plantings looked tired and neglected. I feel that the RHS invests less than it should in the skilled horticulture that goes with growing and maintaining these plants in a 'garden' situation - i.e: it invests insufficiently in (enough) people and too much in 'Show'. To enthuse people in these plants they need to see them growing in ways they can identify with in their own gardens, and to garden with alpines and rock plants is a speciality that requires skilled input and continuous propagation and care of plantings. The Alpine growing area is not used to raise plants for replanting in the ways I think it was in the past and the Garden suffers as a result. I might be criticised further for saying that the 'Crevice Garden' at Wisley does not succeed in the ways it does in gardens in Czechia and Europe and the USA and from my perspective would not encourage gardeners to try and grow plants in the same way - which is a huge shame because this IS such a brilliant way of growing rock plants when done well and cared for. I am a lone voice so probably not listened too, but I think the RHS could do better.

I would re-iterate - it is the GARDEN that lies at the heart of horticulture, and propagation and renewal.

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