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Wisley's Alpine Diary

This entry: 13 February 2012 by Paul Cumbleton

Final Wisley Log

Wisley’s Alpine Log


By Paul Cumbleton


 The end of an era 13 Feb 2012



After four years of blogs I would like to say goodbye and thank you to all the people who have read them. All good things come to an end and this will be the end of the Wisley blog. It is incredible how fast time flies by, I never thought that they would run for as long. I am grateful to the RHS as they have allowed me for 4 years to make time in a busy schedule to produce these logs for you. Updates from the Alpine Team will be posted now and again on Wisley’s Facebook page or the RHS website. Occasionally when something exciting happens I will post information within the SRGC and AGS forums. I thought I would “sign off” by looking back over the past 4 years, sharing some of the highlights and some of my favourite photos.


When I wrote the very first Log in August 2007, we were in the process of dismantling the old cedar Alpine House, to be replaced by a new aluminium house. The new house has proved an enormous success, being visually attractive and providing a good environment for the plants.


Throughout the 4 years I’ve posted regular pictures showing the House at different seasons, hoping that those of you unable to visit yourselves can get at least a feel for what it is like.

The house displays an exceptional variety of plants through the year and it has been a great pleasure to be able to share some of them with you, such as these:

Aptosimum sp.



Above: DionysiaCorona

Below: Calochortus coeruleus



As well as the plants, we’ve had a whole range of animals featured in the log, from the domestic to the wild. The star as always was Sunny the Wisley cat……



….. but do you also remember these? :


Sometimes I focussed in on a particular group of plants and gave some detailed information and cultural advice. These logs proved to be some of the most popular and useful judging by your feedback. Here is a reminder of the groups we have covered and where you can find them:




Massonia & Daubenya

Logs 8 & 9 of 2007


Lewisia:  Log 16 (2008)

Hepatica: Log 17 (2008)



Auricula: Log 22 (2008)



Ponerorchis: Log 27 (2008)



Pleione: Log 39 (2009)



Saxifraga: Log 68 (2010)



Primula allionii: Log 70 (2010)



Phloxes: Log 47 (2009)



Leucocoryne: Log 84 (2010)



At times I got a little more scientific and covered things as diverse as pollination mechanisms in Petromarula pinnata and new insights into the insect trapping strategy of pitcher plants.


The petromarula is from Log 26 and the pitcher plants from Log 34 (both in 2008)

Over the four years the staff have changed too. In the following picture, Meg Morgan (top row, second from left) left to be replaced by Anita Drury, and Chris Allan (bottom left) was replaced by Chloe Wells. Our manager, Colin Crosbie (bottom right) went on to become the Curator at RHS Garden Wisley.








There are many other aspects I haven’t mentioned but here are few more pictorial memories of things shared in the Logs:








So in drawing the Logs to a close I want to say a huge thank you to the SRGC and the AGS for hosting them and for all the support and encouragement that have been freely given along the way. I will still make personal contributions to the forums and always be happy to answer any questions relating to Wisley or to my own plants at home. For those able to get to Wisley some upcoming highlights include the “World of Alpines” day to be held by the local groups of the AGS here on Mar 11th. All things alpine will be on show from plant displays to planting demonstrations. On April 2nd I will be leading an alpine walk which ends with some practical demonstrations where you can get your hands dirty! You can find full details in our adult learning brochure that you can download from this page:


I must say a big thank you to my team in the Alpine department for the marvellous work they do – without them there would have been nothing to write about! But finally I must say thank you to all of you who have read the logs and who have given me such tremendous feedback and made so many hundreds of posts in the forum about what you have read. I hope you have enjoyed them. You will still be able to follow some of the work of the department in occasional posts that may appear in the SRGC and AGS forums, on the RHS’s Facebook page and on the RHS main website. You can see right now the first of such contributions, which is about Hepaticas, here: 


So farewell and good growing from Paul and everyone from RHS Garden Wisley!

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