We are delighted to have been working with the amazing team from the RHS Wisley Herbarium for quite some time now. The work done by the RHS Wisley Herbarium is vital to keep a historical record for botanist to use for the identification and classification of plants. With so many varieties of Hostas, we can see our work with them continuing for many years to come. The ultimate aim of the Herbarium is to have a sample of every type of plant grown in the UK, over 400,000. At present they hold over 90,000 specimens in their collection.
When samples are taken, the Herbarium team are looking for leaves, stems and flowers that are a good example of the variety. These samples are all colour charted immediately after being taken so that an accurate colour is recorded before the sample fades.
The process of pressing, mounting, sterilising and storing the specimens is a fascinating one. The Herbarium has recently moved from the Wisley Laboratory to it's new home at Hilltop, The Home of Gardening Science. This new state of the art facility has been purpose built to create the ideal condition for specimen storage. Once a sample is pressed and mounted it is put into a drying unit to be completely dried out before the process of sterilising.
To sterilise the sample it is put into a freezer at -40 degrees C, this kills any harmful organisms that could damage the collection. The storage room itself is temperature and humidity controlled, as well as this there are no water pipes running above this room in case of leaks. Every aspect has been considered to ensure these samples stand the test of time.