Full seed ahead!

Unseasonal sunshine has been helping our seed harvest. Have you ordered yours yet?

Lepechinia hastataAs we move into the winter phase of the gardening year in the Seed Department, our activities are focused on the packing of seed envelopes ready to send out to members who have placed their orders for RHS seed in the New Year.

Our collecting season is fast drawing to a close, although with the unseasonably mild weather we’ve been experiencing there’s still plenty of seed to harvest here at Wisley. For example last week we were out collecting from some of the late summer flowering plants in our Mixed Borders such as Lepechinia hastata, Chelone obliqua and Hesperantha coccinea. Over the next few weeks these borders will gradually be cut back so we’re making the most of the final opportunities to harvest from this area.

Our 2015 seed catalogue has been printed and the Seed Scheme is now open online for members to place their orders until the end of March at www.rhs.org.uk/seedlist. Members can also request a printed copy by phoning the Membership Services Team on 020 3176 5810.

Sorting the seedAs we are a very small team of just two members of staff, we rely for help on our team of 12 volunteers, who each come in for one day a week to help out with harvesting, cleaning, packing and dispatching seed. With some 55,000 packets of seed to pack by hand over the next few months we would really struggle without their assistance.

Our volunteers all come from different backgrounds and have worked in a variety of different industries and sectors, which means we benefit from the wealth of experience and different ideas that they bring with them. Everyone works together as a team and there’s a real sense of camaraderie, with every day being slightly different with a new mix of personalities.

We've got packing seed down to a fine artAt the moment our labels printers are whirring as we make up our seed envelopes. These labels are then transferred to label dispensers, which make it easier to stick the labels on to the glassine envelopes. The next step is to pack the seed into the envelopes and it’s interesting to note that everyone has a slightly different technique for this. Some of our volunteers have been with us for more than 20 years and have this down to a fine art. It’s important at this stage to stay focused so that the right seed goes in the right envelope!

This first phase of packing will take us through to Christmas when we will then set up our A-frame dispatch boards ready to process the orders that are now starting to come in. 

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