Troy Scott Smith, who has been leading the horticultural renewal of the Mediterranean-style Harold Peto gardens at Iford Manor garden since July 2019 is to leave and return to Sissinghurst Castle gardens at the end of August. Troy trained at Sissinghurst at the start of his career and was head gardener there from 2013 for six years. Both Iford Manor and Sissinghurst are notable for their Mediterranean elements. The picture shows part of the manor house. Harold Peto (1854 – 1933) created some of the finest gardens in England. He lived at Iford Manor in his later years and was an architect and garden designer favouring the Italian style.
Insight on Armenia
California Horticultural Society, our sister organisation, invited members to an online meeting with an illustrated lecture “Armenia: Nature and Climate” by guest speaker Tamar Galstyan (pictured). Tamar has explored the exceptionally diverse flora of her native country and her book A Field Guide to the Plants of Armenia will be published this autumn. The meeting on Monday 19 July was recorded and may be viewed on YouTube. MPG plans to repeat its 2015 field trip to Armenia soon and this will be led by Dr Anna Asatryan of the Armenian Institute of Botany.
See also the report of the 2015 trip.
MPG at Sissinghurst garden opening
Sissinghurst’s Greece-inspired garden officially opened on 1 July; MPG member Saffron Prentis was the National Trust lead gardener in the project. The planting was envisaged by Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson more than 85 years ago after visiting the island of Delos in the Aegean. More than 6,000 perennials typical of Greece and the wider Mediterranean have been introduced, along with pomegranate, cork oak and cypress trees. Saffron says it is experimental since many of the plants would naturally go through summer dormancy to cope with drought and heat. Sue Tymon, MPG chairman, represented MPG at the opening.
AGM held on Zoom
The 2021 AGM was organised on Zoom at the beginning of this week. Notices including the resolutions had been sent out well in advance and voting was on line. There were no votes against any of the motions. Tours Committee Chairman Maddy Hughes (pictured), whose three-year term of office has come to an end, had offered herself for re-election and is continuing on the seven-member MC. Most members in the Zoom meeting were within the UK but there were some logging in from Belgium, France, Gibraltar, Greece, Ireland, Spain and USA.
Ottershaw Cacti and Dunsborough Park
After a nine month break due to Covid-19 restrictions, it was really good to attend two very contrasting venues in Surrey on 14 June, with fellow MPG members.
Ottershaw Cacti grows rare and unusual cacti and other succulents, holds three National Collections and is a double Chelsea gold medal winner. Owners Daniel and Jo Jackson gave insights into the collection and many members went home with new plant acquisitions.
Members continued to Dunsborough Park for a picnic lunch and tour with Head Gardener James Gillions who touched on the history of the house and gardens, paying particular attention to the Mediterranean planting and waterwise practices. The gardens have unusual touches like the ginkgo hedge, nepeta borders, a fabulous folly bridge spanning the water garden and statuary.
Vida Svahnström MSc at Kew
Vida Svahnström, an MPG member since 2018, will be studying for an MSc at RBG Kew from autumn this year. Vida was awarded a bursary by MPG to go on the field trip to the Peloponnese in March 2019, led by John Fielding. At that time she was a student at the University of St Andrews but graduated this month with a first class degree in evolutionary biology. Her postgraduate studies will be on plant and fungal taxonomy, diversity and conservation.