£160m horticultural centre featuring Darwin potato will open to visitors for the first time

It’s a £160million showcase for gardening science and a treasure trove of secrets which has branched out in the countryside.

Now the Royal Horticultural Society’s new state-of-the-art Hilltop centre is preparing to welcome visitors for the first time.

Hilltop boasts the most complete record of the UK’s horticultural heritage. It holds rare collections and treasures dating back to 1542 – many never seen by the public before – and is surrounded by four acres of ‘living laboratories’.

New leaf: Tivvy Harvey with Darwin potato plant

New leaf: Tivvy Harvey with Darwin potato plant

New leaf: Tivvy Harvey with Darwin potato plant

Prized items include a potato plant brought back by Charles Darwin from South America – preserved as a pressing. The Daily Mail was given an exclusive early peek of what visitors will see at the centre at the RHS’s garden in Wisley, Surrey.

Vast collections of dried plants, insects, books and art were moved to Hilltop in a months-long operation from Wisley’s original cramped laboratories, which were built during the First World War.

The unique hoard had been hidden away from public gaze.

Hilltop opens to the public from June 24. Before Covid hit, almost 1.25million visitors went to Wisley each year.

The potato plant was collected by Darwin, creator of the theory of evolution, on an island off Chile in 1835 during his famous voyage on HMS Beagle.

The Hilltop Centre

The Hilltop Centre

The Hilltop Centre 

It had been stored at Wisley for years and was eventually found hidden at the back of a cupboard in old RHS labs. Visitors will also get the opportunity to see head entomologist Dr Andy Salisbury and his team researching the relationship between bugs and plants.

His collection includes the death’s-head hawkmoth – with a ‘skull’ on its back – which featured as a killer’s ‘calling card’ in 1991 movie The Silence Of The Lambs.

The new centre also includes thousands of varieties of daffodils, highlighting the RHS’s vital work to save the plant in 1916 after it was almost wiped out by a mystery disease.

Seventy RHS scientists and students have moved into the world-class labs. They’re working on finding the best plants to soak up pollution, prevent flooding and capture carbon to combat global warming. The ‘living labs’ feature gardens specially designed for wildlife, food and wellbeing, putting the science into action.

Moth featured in The Silence Of The Lambs

Moth featured in The Silence Of The Lambs

Moth featured in The Silence Of The Lambs

Before moving to the building, Tivvy Harvey, keeper of the herbarium of dried and pressed plants, had to deep-freeze the collection to kill off the invasive biscuit beetle. She said: ‘Our ambition is to collect all of the 400,000 ornamental plants grown in UK gardens to ensure correct identification.’ Schoolchildren and other visitors will be able to watch experiments as they happen and speak directly to scientists to learn more about their work.

Professor Alistair Griffiths, RHS director of science and collections, told the Mail: ‘Millions more people are now gardening.

‘We want our science to supercharge gardens and deliver maximum benefits from healthy plants for people and the planet. The purpose of RHS Hilltop is to present to the public what we know so far but also to intensify our research so we can continue to find solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing us today.’

Link hienalouca.com


Tips to Find Low Priced Luxury Holiday Package Deals Fast

For most families, it has already been a common practice to spend the Holiday season in a foreign location. This is caused by the aviation market changes which have given a lot of benefits for people who travel a lot. Airfares going to different tourist destinations are becoming more inexpensive. What does this mean? If there is a perfect time to purchase luxury holiday package deals, now it the right time! Based on the market trend nowadays, you can save both money and time when you go for a luxury holiday. There are countless offers that combine travel and accommodation in one package which is a lot cheaper than getting separate deals. Aside from that, it is also risky to individually book the services that you need for the vacation. You might end up missing out on some important details of the trip. Unlike when you take advantage of luxury holiday package deals, you can be sure that everything is organized meticulously and according to what you really need. Nonetheless, you would still need to carefully select the package that would fit your needs. Review the following tips in getting packages that are reasonably priced. · Normally, luxury tour packages include accommodation, flight travel and transportation to individual tourist destinations. It would be best to choose the complete package so you won’t have to worry about other vacation elements. In addition to that, these are the packages that have the biggest discounts. · You can get big mark down prices, if you will purchase more packages. It is not a bad idea to share the wonderful moment with your loved ones. By doing so, you would not only enjoy, you will also save more money. You can even use your savings for other activities on your vacation. · It would be best to know how much you are willing to pay for the luxury tour packages. You can already work around your budget. You have to stick to your budget. If not, you might end up spending a lot and you will be left with less money for your vacation. · Prices may vary depending on the destination of the tour. You can do a research about places that are attractive yet inexpensive. There are thousands of destinations and you just have to choose wisely. · There are packages that include recreational activities. This means that you are paying for all the activities when you purchase these packages. The right thing to do is to make sure that the activities that are included would be the ones that you really enjoy. There is no sense in paying for activities that will not really make your vacation memorable. If you are going with friends, you should also consider their preferences so that you can be sure that everyone will enjoy the trip. There are other ways on how you can be sure that you are getting the best deal for your luxury holiday vacation. No matter how you choose to do it, you have to get adequate information about the packages. This will help you determine whether it is worth the price.

(Total views: 313 Time, 1 visits per day)

Leave a Reply