Europe, UK, Ireland, South, Central America

UK horticultural centre features pressing of potato plant collected by Darwin in South America

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, write Colin Fernandez and Tim Friend for the Daily Mail.

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’.

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. Prized items include a potato plant brought back by Charles Darwin from South America – preserved as a pressing. The potato plant was collected by Darwin on an island off Chile in 1835 during his famous voyage on HMS Beagle. It had been stored at Wisley for years and was eventually found hidden at the back of a cupboard in old RHS labs.

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

Source: Daily Mail. Read the full story here.
Photo: Tivvy Harvey with Darwin potato plant | Courtesy Roger Allen

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