Celebrity botanist James Wong visited Duchy College Rosewarne this week to start filming for the new series of the BBC’s ‘Great British Garden Revival’.
Research scientist Ros Smith was the focus of the attention as the film crew focused on the work she has been carrying out to save rare species of rhododendrons that are so popular in the gardens of Cornwall, in particular at the world renowned Lost Gardens of Heligan which has been involved since the beginning of the project in 2005.
The painstaking work involves taking apart the bud of the flower and implanting it in a fortified gel substance, which then sits in a ‘growing room’, where is it is kept at a constant warm temperature and under lights for sixteen hours a day.
It can take up to eighteen months for the shoot to grow just a few inches until it can be hardened off and planted out.
Ros said: “It’s very exciting to be filmed for television and they came at just the right time, as the rhododendrons in bloom are very beautiful. We hope that the programme will bring more attention and publicity to the rhododendron conservation project and all of the research work that the College carries out.”
Much of the work has been done in conjunction with the National Trust, which relies on the facilities at Rosewarne to preserve and propagate the most rare and specialist of their plants.
Andrew Counsell, head of Duchy College, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to show off the world-class research that the horticulture team at Rosewarne is carrying out. As a college we are committed to putting learning into practice and this is a great example of how the work we do translates into the workplace and businesses around us.”
‘The Great British Garden Revival’ is expected to be on screens in the autumn.