RHS releases new book of wildflowers

Those looking for an idea for a garden and greenhouse enthusiast’s Christmas present could do a lot worse than the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) Wild Flowers of Wisley book.

The publication was written by botanists James Armitage and Barry Phillips and documents the results of their survey of RHS Garden Wisley.

It comes precisely 100 years after the last comprehensive study of wildflowers at the site, which was conducted in 1910.

Remarkably, 84 per cent of the plant species recorded a century ago are still there today, despite the land having changed from farming use to predominantly intensively cultivated botanical garden.

While plants like lamb’s succor Arnoseris minima, which was first collected at Wisley by Alan Titchmarsh’s great uncle, have now disappeared, rare examples, such as greater dodder Cuscuta europaea and copse bindweed Fallopia dumetorum, have managed to survive the century.

As an added bonus, the survey found that new wild plants, such as early meadow grass Poa infirma, have also begun growing at the popular site.

The RHS recently recommended that gardeners shake the snow off of evergreens and conifers to stop it bending the branches.