On Wednesday a group of some twenty Grayshott Gardeners received a warm welcome from David and Catherine May, whose Seale Nurseries have been in their family since 1948. David showed us the compost making and potting machinery, followed by an expert demonstration of how to bud graft a rose.
Catherine treated us to hot and cold drinks with home-baked biscuits, then left us to wander and admire the many varieties of roses, while David was on hand with advice.
Seale Rose Nursery is beautifully situated against the background of the Surrey hills landscape and our visit on a warm and sunny evening, with the fragrance of roses in the air, proved truly inspiring. Seale Nurseries are open Tue to Sat, 10 – 4 (Tel: 01252 782410) http://sealenurseries.co.uk/Seale_Nurseries/About_us.html
Wednesday’s Keynote lecture by Tom Hart Dyke turned out to be two treats in one: an adventure story and a botanical trip round the world, illustrated with amazing slides and told with a good deal of verve and humour.
It all started at Lullingstone Castle in Kent, where his granny encouraged Tom to collect plants, in particular orchids, and nearly ended 17 years ago Colombia, when he and his friend Paul Winder were kidnapped by a band of teenage guerrillas and held for 9 months, constantly fearing for their lives, while travelling between temporary camps in the jungle. The idea of a World Garden in the shape of a map, and stocked with indigenous plants, was born there and sparked off decades of hard work and extensive travel to source appropriate plants and help with their preservation.
We were shown some of the wondrous plant shapes and colours, small and gigantic, photographed by Tom on his trips to various continents, and especially South America (he did go back to Colombia!) . For those wanting more, Tom’s collection of more than 6000 different plants, including The World Garden, is open for visits at his family seat of Lullingstone Castle near Sevenoaks in Kent (see www.tomhartdyke.co.uk for details).