Our first challenge was to shift around 300 plants from Reception House at one end of RHS Garden Wisley to our two trial sites at the other end.
This had to be done the day in advance and relied on the kind help of one of our Garden Managers, a tractor and a trailer.
The plants were divided equally between sites, watered and stood on the beds where they needed to be planted. So far so good.
Scientists get dirty
On the Planting Day itself, the weather held. Enthusiastic staff who had volunteered from Science and Advice made their way to the plots. Here they were directed to pick a tool of choice (we had been loaned a crate of hand forks, trowels and spades from the old exam plots) and to head into the beds to get planting. With some pointers on 'correct planting depth' and whether to 'tease or not to tease' (roots, that is), everyone got stuck in.
Boiled sweets (fruit or mint) were offered in return for hard labour. I believe this is standard practice.
By lunchtime we were finishing up on the Howard's Field site, watering the last of the plants in with hose and lance. With progress ahead of schedule, an extra task was added to the day - post driving!
Ian Waghorn (Research Assistant) and Rupert Wilson (Principal Data Manager) were the first to try their hand. Looking the part in fetching hard hats they received instruction and set off driving the first of the 18 wooden climber posts into the ground.
Before long, entomologists Anna Platoni and Hayley Jones (pictured left), wanted a piece of the action. Safe to say efficiency may have been compromised by laughter but the job was done, new skills learned and a Planting Day made easy through team effort.
Thanks to one and all.
Read about the Plants for Bugs study