RHS defends sourcing of specimens from abroad

Buying unusual plants from overseas for a new glasshouse is necessary, according to the RHS.

The RHS has defended buying plants overseas for its flagship Bicentenary Glasshouse at Wisley. RHS superintendent of glass Nick Morgan has already visited Florida, Italy and Holland on the tour to find more unusual plants. In July, Fachjan nursery in Holland will deliver giant palms. Torsanlorenzo in Italy is also sending large plants this month. Morgan said he would have bought the plants from UK nurseries if he could. He added that the RHS was “just cutting out the middle man”. But Sun newspaper gardening correspondent Steve Bradley said the society could do better: “It’s the job of the RHS to support the industry and I hope it will do that wherever it can.” Morgan and a team from the RHS are set to begin a tour of the UK’s nurseries to find sources for more plants for the glasshouse structure, designed by Dutch company Smiemens Projecten. “The RHS has really good links to all the nurseries in this country. To this extent, we deal with all these people personally,” Morgan added. The glasshouse team, which is preparing the new plant collection in the previous glasshouse, will expand by three to eight members once building is complete. * The new lake at RHS Wisley will double as a reservoir to cope with the drought. The 4,000sq m lake will reduce the 97ha garden’s reliance on the River Wey. RHS project officer Martin Harvey said the 10,000cu m capacity would prove a “substantial” improvement and would capture up to 3,365cu m of rainwater from the roof of the glasshouse, plus water from a borehole.

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