Friday, 29 August 2008


We didn't actually go to Wisley to look for William Lobb. I quite fancied going because I hadn't looked at the Piet Oudolf or Tom Stuart-Smith stuff round the glasshouse when I was there the other day for FuchsiaFest. I also quite wanted to have a look at the orchards now the apples are nearly done.

But when we arrived, guess where we had to park? Car park 3 row N! Have you ever, ever had to park that far away? You'd think it might be depressing, but actually it was brilliant. There was a whole special camaraderie amongst us "far-awayers" as we became known. We sang songs and had lots of in-jokes to pass away the long days of trekking it took us to get to the entrance. That's the spirit!

When after 38 days on the route we finally made it in the gate, we first of all had a walk up the pinetum, where we slightly unexpectedly met William Lobb. Now normally I would run away from a man in heritage costume but he was hilarious. William Lobb was a nineteenth century Cornish plant hunter who worked for Veitchs, and he brought back the first seed of the Giant Redwood. As well as the Monkey Puzzle. 

Anyway Lobb was really interesting about the Wellingtonia (now Sequoia) that he discovered, and all about the history of how he did it. The whole experience changed my snotty attitude towards people dressed up as historical types and I would definitely wander up and chat to a plant hunter now if I ever meet one again. Interpretation of gardens is something I find very interesting, especially since working at Kew, and I thought this really, really worked. 

Then we looked round the buddleia trial. This is the kind of thing my loved one finds it important to do properly. In fact, I'd be pretty surprised if the actual judging committee is stricter about how to do than he is. At least they are actually allowed to talk to each other. Anyway we duly filed our results without consultation and were then allowed to pose for photos with our choices.

Mine is pink, predictably.

Just NB the note of refined professionalism he is giving off, as opposed to the air of the slightly trivial emanating from me. We did eventually make it to the apples; I ate quite a lot of windfalls off the ground and went home feeling a bit cidery. Medlars looked amazing, as did PO and TSS's bits. 


Alex said...

Just doing that thing - with the cadet branch of the Shedworking family - with the budd when you put cut stems in water with different coloured food colouring. So far it's thumbs up to blue and red, limited thumbs up to yellow and thumbs right down the lavatory to green.

emmat said...

we always used to do that with celery! then you can actually eat it. though gawd only knows what's in food colouring i supose