Unlike universities, where the summer term generally provides academics with more time, more parking spaces, and a more favourable balance between queuing for and eating lunch, the opposite is true in the garden.
Here at Wisley, summer is our busiest period, not just because footfall through the gates increases but also because during these long, warm(ish) months, gardening as a hobby sees a seasonal resurgence. So, with many of us being unashamed fair-weather fans of our trowels and our hedge shears, it’s not surprising that summer also heralds an increase in the number of enquires to the RHS’ Members Advisory and Diagnostic Services. Calls, emails and letters querying anything from best practice when trimming wisteria to help identifying the good, the bad and the sometimes exceedingly ugly amongst our garden fauna are answered by our horticultural advisors and scientists.
Regular entries in the ‘Top Ten’ pest enquiries received through the Members’ Advisory and Diagnostic Services (from left to right): slugs and snails (various species), viburnum beetle (Pyrrhalta viburni) and vine weevil (Otiorhynchus sulcatus).
We’ve also recently been lucky enough to welcome our third overseas placement student, Sarah Lambrecht, within Science. Sarah is the second student we have secured through the IAESTE programme in as many years.
The programme organises paid, course-relevant work placements for students from all sorts of countries and involving all sorts of subject areas. It’s a great way for the students to develop useful work (and life) experience and for companies and universities to gain hand-picked, high-calibre students to support their research projects. With a keen interest in plant biochemistry, Sarah will be working with our RHS International Registrar, getting a 10-week peek into the world of horticultural taxonomy and learning about the processes involved in cultivar registration – an important means of ensuring plant cultivars are given unique names.
The KTP has been directly involved in helping get students involved in research projects at Wisley because as well as providing students with relevant industry experience, it also addresses a key aim of the KTP- to help increase the profile of RHS Science!