Director of Sir Harold Hillier Gardens to deliver next James Hearsum Lecture

January 2014

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(NOTE: This is an archived press release.)

The director of the world-famous Sir Harold Hillier Gardens will be speaking at Writtle College next month as part of our popular horticulture lecture series.

Wolfgang Bopp, who has worked with the Gardens in Romsey, Hampshire, for nearly 10 years, will speak to students, staff and visitors on 18 February as part of this year’s James Hearsum Lecture Series.

He said: “I am delighted to come to Writtle College to talk about the history of the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens and the 50th Anniversary of the Centenary Border.

“The Gardens celebrated its 60th anniversary last year and is widely recognised as one of the most important hardy plant collections of the country and the world. We have 12,000 different taxa, 13 national collections and the largest number of champion trees as listed in the 2011 Champion Trees of Britain and Ireland.

“The Centenary Border has been renewed and extended and opened two years ago. We believe it is now the longest double border of its kind in the UK, containing over 800 different plant varieties. Having been planted with over 30,000 plants, we have added over 20,000 bulbs this autumn to celebrate the 50th anniversary.”

Mr Bopp trained in horticulture in Germany and then moved to the UK to study at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. He was curator at the National Botanic Garden of Wales and worked at Ness Botanic Gardens as well as with the world conservation monitoring centre, before joining the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens.

His lecture follows those by renowned landscape and garden designer Anthony Paul, who opened this year’s series in November, and Richard Barley, the new Director of Kew Gardens’ Horticulture.

Dr Timothy Walker, Director of Oxford Botanic Garden, will follow on Tuesday 4 March and the series will close with Troy Scott-Smith, Head Gardener at Sissinghurst Castle, Kent, on Tuesday 6 May.

Brainchild of former horticulture student James Hearsum, the annual comprehensive, illustrated lecture series is now in its ninth year.

Organised by Greg Allen, Senior Lecturer in Landscape Studies at the College with a team of first, second and third year students, all proceeds go to the Writtle College Students’ Union and are used to provide student travel bursaries to some of the most important gardens.

All the lectures in the series - entitled Plants, People and Places - start at 7.30pm in the Northumberland Lecture Theatre at the College. Tickets and further details are available from the Writtle College Students’ Union or via Greg Allen on 01245 424200 or