Kitchen Garden Special Update - August 2006

Stephanie's Kitchen Garden Diary 31st August 2006

Kitchen Garden Special Update – August 2006  

Kitchen Gardener Heads for Surrey!

The Kitchen Garden has been left to fend for itself for two days this week as I’ve been off on my travels once again – this time to the Royal Horticultural Society’s famous garden at Wisley. Here’s my report on the trip....

RHS and Harrod Horticultural in Wisley Tie-Up
Following a request from the Royal Horticultural Society, Harrod Horticultural have recently supplied eleven fruit cages for use in the society’s gardens at Wisley in Surrey. Rhswisley4

And with the RHS firmly established as the world’s leading horticultural organisation, it’s certainly a major testament to the quality of the products Harrod Horticultural manufactures.

The eleven structures, a selection of fruit cages from the Harrod Horticultural range, will be erected mainly in the Model Fruit Garden and also on the Fruit Field, both of which form part of the 240 acre Wisley site.    

Four of the Heavy Duty Galvanised Steel Decorative Fruit Cages, first unveiled at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in 2005 -which incidentally was also Harrod’s 50th year in business - are being placed together to provide a major feature in the Fruit Enthusiasts Garden, and will be used to protect two plum trees (varieties Opal and Victoria) and two gages (Cambridge and Imperial).
Jim Arbury is the Fruit Superintendent at Wisley and has clocked up 24 years of service since he joined the ranks as a temporary gardener back in 1982. He is head of the Fruit Department and oversees a senior supervisor, a supervisor, two senior gardeners and also a full-time and part-time gardener. He had instigated the supply of the cages and was delighted as the structures took shape.


Explained Jim; “the Model Fruit Garden is designed to maximise space so we grow compact cultivars and use dwarfing rootstocks to ensure we achieve this aim. The decorative cages have a good height, are well-made and robust yet attractive, and I particularly like the matt black finish to the steel. The end product is a result of well thought out construction.”

Also located in the Model Fruit Garden are two Aluminium Fruit Cages which will protect some of the many Wisley raspberries. Overseeing the assembly of these cages was Fruit Supervisor Dr. Alessandra Valsecchi, who was amazed at how user-friendly the aluminium cages were; “the cages are easy to erect and quick to put up”.

The 16 acre Fruit Field is a major part of the Fruit Department at Wisley, and is home to a multitude of plants and trees. The extensive orchards contain 690 varieties of apple, 120 pear and over 100 types of plums and gages; cobnut, medler, quince, mulberry are also present and Alessandra expects the vineyard to produce around 300 bottles of Wisley vintage this year.

There are also many examples of both soft and cane fruit which the Harrod Heavy Duty Steel Fruit Cages will cover, and Alessandra explained the problems faced with protecting the ripening fruit. “We get problems from the usual sources such as birds, squirrels, rabbits and foxes and even though the whole soft fruit area is surrounded by rabbit wire, we find the rabbits burrow underneath and the foxes jump over. As we are open to the public from 10am to 6pm, we have to allow access and of course the gates are left open or ajar and in come the rabbits,” she continued.
“We also have problems with pigeons when the fruit is still green, badgers, members of the public and even staff so I am very pleased the cages have arrived. I like the nice square construction and the matt finish”. Alessandra was also pleased that the netting could be removed if required – “we remove the roof netting after the fruit has finished, but occasionally we replace it during the spring if a frost is forecast. The netting traps the warm air of the day and helps prevent the frost from damaging the canes.” 


Along with the fruit cages, Harrod Horticultural also supplied a selection of other products including tools from the renowned Sneeboer range which Jim and his staff are looking forward to using. Both parties will benefit from this arrangement as the Fruit Department will gain new tools and products to make their tasks easier, and Harrod will be the beneficiary of invaluable feedback - a key aspect of the on-going testing and trialling of Harrod Horticultural products in a professional, commercial environment.

Harrod Horticultural would like to extend their thanks for the help and hospitality offered by Jim and his staff and for further information on the range of fruit and vegetable cages are available on the website and for details of the RHS Garden at Wisley, such as directions and opening times visit


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