This Agave attenuata is flowering for the first time since it was planted in the arid section of Wisley’s Glasshouse in 2006. The extraordinary and wonderful inflorescence is attracting a lot of attention as it’s very unusual. Originally from Mexico, this agave is now said to be naturalised in Libya and Madeira, and is found throughout the Mediterranean. Members can look forward to a special visit to Wisley on Wednesday 15 March, organised by Melvyn Jope and Lesley Jones.
Exciting job move
MPG member Russell Beeton has moved to the National Botanic Garden of Wales, where he is senior horticulturist looking after the Great Glasshouse, the tropical houses and nursery houses, and the plant reception facility. Designed by Norman Foster and Partners, the Great Glasshouse is famous for its Mediterranean-climate plants and conservation of endangered species. Russell was involved in MPG’s summer 2021 visit to the Oxford University Botanic Garden where he was a propagator working mainly in the Rock Garden to which he gave our members an introduction. He is pictured here with Banksia prionotes, of Western Australia, and Xerochrysum bracteatum, an annual in the Asteraceae family.
A memory from Great Dixter in 1960
MPG member Lindsay Blyth was reminded by our visit to Great Dixter last month that when she was married in 1957 and moving to Calcutta, her parents gave her cactus collection to Christopher Lloyd of Great Dixter. On return to England in 1960, Lindsay went to see Christopher and the garden. However, she was welcomed by his mother who spent ages showing her round the house, talking about herself and Edwin Lutyens and showing the embroidery done by her sons. As Lindsay looked longingly out of the windows, she saw Christopher deadheading in rubber gloves but there was no escape. Finally, the house tour ended and Lindsay thought at last she would spend time with Christopher in the garden. But his mother’s voice rang out, “Christopher darling, it’s time for lunch.”
Award for MPG member Oron Peri
Congratulations to MPG member Oron Peri whose image of Crocus korolkowii in its native habitat in Tajikistan has won the North American Rock Garden Society photo contest 2022 in the category ‘In the wild – rock garden plants in nature’ on Instagram. Oron is the owner and operator of the specialist Seeds of Peace nursery in Israel. We look forward to him being the botanical guide on MPG’s November trip in the Peloponnese. Between now and then he will be on a lecture tour in New Zealand.
Reminiscence on day of Queen’s funeral
The impressive grandeur and moving ceremonial of the Queen’s funeral broke several records – the turnout on the streets particularly in London, the number of people who watched it on television, and the length of time people queued for, among others. Britain’s pageantry was outstanding as usual. Our picture shows a touching more modest tribute photographed by Lesley Jones at Great Dixter during the MPG visit last week, which was attended by 21 members and guided by Fergus Garrett.
Congratulations to Sue Bennison on her 90th birthday which she has been spending in Northumberland with her family. Sue was a founder member of MPG and a valuable contributor on the first management committee continuing until 2017. She was the designer and organiser of wonderfully varied and popular summer garden tours in the UK – in Kent and Lincolnshire during the period when MPG was being formed, and in Herefordshire, Norfolk and Dorset after the association was formalised. Thank you to Vicky Bennison for the picture taken on the day.