On Wednesday 10th February, the members of the HGHS were excited to have our first Zoom lecture; Kirsty Wilson, who many of us may recognise from her appearances on Beechgrove Garden, entertained and educated us on a variety of horticultural subjects. She has wide range of gardening experience from St Andrews to Pennsylvania, in many different conditions both indoors and under cover, but for most of us, the most intriguing part of her presentation was the account of her seed-finding journey to China, under the auspices of the Royal Botanical Garden of Edinburgh.
Following the footsteps of many of the great names in plant exploration, Kirsty and her colleagues covered huge distances, from one end of China to the other it seemed, and their adventures and encounters with both flora and fauna made interesting and at times amusing viewing. Kirsty is an accomplished photographer, so the images that accompanied her account were a pleasure in themselves. As Kirsty mentioned, it is always rewarding to see plants growing in their natural habitat, and she was able to see and photograph such things as Gentians, Persicaria and even the statuesque Cardiocrinum giganteum growing in the wild, along with many more. It was also heartening to see the care that is being given to recording and preserving plant collections – an increasingly important task in these uncertain times of climate change and urbanisation.
It was surprising to some of us to hear just how many species of higher plants China has, in comparison to North America, for instance. Of course, we could see from Kirsty’s journey just how disparate the habitats and altitudes in China are.
Kirsty also shared with us some of the initiatives happening in the gardens she has worked in, and of particular interest to us here in the area, perhaps, were some flood prevention techniques she mentioned and showed examples of. I for one, have rethought a troublesome bed after her advice.
Kirsty brought a great deal of her enthusiasm for horticulture to the presentation. It was a welcome reminder that there is still a world out there, full of wonderful plants, waiting for us to visit…. someday soon.
If you’re interested in seeing some of Kirsty’s work and photographs, see the links below.
Also Kirsty's report on the expedition to China can be downloaded here: (PDF file)