On your marks, dispatch, SOW!

This week we’re in the midst of a marvellous period when we're able to help members create a little bit of Wisley in their own gardens

Trainees and volunteers help out with seed dispatchIt’s been a busy season in the Seed Department. Seed orders from members have been arriving since early November and, having completed the first round of packing, we’ve started putting orders together and sending them out so that recipients can begin seed sowing in time for the new growing season.
In early January a transformation takes place - we clear all the seed from our drying table, and our drying room becomes the dispatch room. We set up a series of A-frame dispatch boards and onto these go all the packed seed packet, in numerical order (as per the catalogue). We take each order and move along the boards, plucking packets of seed from the relevant numbers. Our volunteers are invaluable in helping us with this task so that we can send out orders as speedily as possible.

I find it fascinating, and at the same time exciting, when I see the orders come in from all different areas of the UK and the EU. One day it would be very interesting to see if there are regional preferences for certain seeds, but that project is for another day! 

Eryngium x tripartitumPopular this year are some of the newer plants on our list such as Ammi majus, with delicate white, umbelliferous flowers; Asclepias tuberosa which has been collected from our North American prairie meadow and has bright orange flowers in the summer followed by interesting tubular seed pods, and the sea holly Eryngium × tripartitum, with architectural grey-green leaves and spiky metallic-blue flowers.

Also popular are some old favourites such as Helleborus × hybridus, Cosmos sulphureus - an annual with bright orange and yellow flowers in the summer (I think this one looks great in containers) - and Baptisia australis (false indigo), a perennial with erect lupin-like violet-blue flowers followed by attractive dark pods.

Collecting seed of Sarcococca confusa at RHS Garden WisleyOn bright sunny days we try to get out into the garden here at Wisley as there are still seeds that we can collect at this time of the year, namely Sarcococca confusa, which gives off a heavenly scent (I strongly recommend having this near your front door so that you get a waft of its delightful perfume on a regular basis).

There’s still plenty of time to order your RHS Seed by either going to rhs.org.uk/seedlist, or by phoning the Membership Services Team on 020 3176 5810 to request a copy of our seed list.

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.