Vic Pawlowski, Harold Hillier 1955

The early years

I started at Hillier Nurseries in 1960 at NO4 Nursery Propagation at Chandlers Ford, Hampshire under the legendary Hillier’s propagators Vic Pawlowski, Peter Dummer and Brian Humphrey.

A decade of change

In1960 we were still hand potting into clay pots sterilised with Jeyes Fluid and plunging into ash from the local railway works, double digging and saddle grafting rhododendrons; we did have mist propagation but very little polythene.

Opposite the Propagation house, there was an old English frame yard with 6 x 4 ft lights that had to be opened and closed each day, and in the winter watered with a water barrow and can.

Peter Dummer perfected side verneer grafting and within 2-3 years we were getting a very high percentage on all genera most notable on Betula (birch), Quercus (oak) and Acer palmatum cultivars.

Brian Humphrey pioneered liquid rooting hormone IBA so we were able to root Rhododendron, Syringa and other genera previously grafted

.Rooting cuttings outside under polythene (Sunframes) greatly increased production.

In 1968 Propagation moved to Jermyn’s Lane Ampfield into a modern Propagation unit.

In the early seventies I was responsible for the seed and cuttings that came in from Botanical gardens and nurseries around the world or collected by Sir Harold Hillier or Roy Lancaster.

In one consignment from Sally Walker, a friend of Sir Harold from Georgia USA were a few seeds of Choisya arizonica .

Under the watchful eye of Peter Dummer I made my first hybrid.

  • Peter Dummer making Choisya Aztec Pearl cuttings in the main Propagation Unit, Jermyn’s Lane, Ampfield 1988.

Choisya ‘Aztec Pearl’, (named by Peter Dummer) was crossed in 1982 and  launched by Hillier Nursery at the Chelsea Flower Show in 1989. Weigela ‘Dark Horse’ followed in 1997 and was marketed by PlantHaven in the USA.

In 1999, after 10 years of intensive breeding Choisya Goldfingers ‘Limo’ was launched through Hillier and Plantnet, an international marketing network group. And in 2005 Buddleja Silver Anniversary (Syn ‘Morning Mist’) was launched through Farplants and Longstock Park Nursery.

In 1997 I left Hillier’s and took up the position as Propagator at Longstock Park Nursery in Hampshire. I have partially retired but still work a few hours with responsibility for the National Collection of Buddleja held at the nursery.

I’m also a member of the RHS hardy plant trial committee.

As a hobby, I spend hundreds of hours developing new plants. These are extensively trialled in my garden before being released to the trade.

I’m an independent Plant Breeder developing a wide range of hardy garden plants for the temperate regions of the world.

The aim of this website is to promote the hybrids I have raised. Clear and honest descriptions with photos that are true to colour and habit. In order to support the Horticulture Trade, there is a listing of stockists for retail and wholesale.  10% of the royalties are given to charity.

Peter is highly creative and his enthusiasm is infectious”.

Martin Young, Nectar Plants

“Fun trying to pick the next winner in an already impressive stable”.

John Hedger, New Place Nurseries

Photos of Chandlers Ford Nursery 1965-68

The entrance to the arboretum planted in the late twenties 

The Teak house was used for over wintering tender Rhododendrons such as the very rare species R. dalhousiae var. rhabdotum, always of interest and top working Acer palmatum varieties in the summer.

On the right of the photo two impressive specimens of Quercus robur ‘Fastigiata’.

 

 

 

Opposite the Propagation house, there was an old English frame yard with 6 x 4 ft lights that had to be opened and closed each day, and in the winter watered with a water barrow and can.

Brian Humphrey pioneered liquid rooting hormone IBA so we were able to root Rhododendron, Syringa and other genera previously grafted

.

Rhododendron, under mist  in 1965 at the Hillier Nursery  Chandlers Ford

 Rooting cuttings outside under polythene (Sunframes) greatly increased production.

Propagation moved to Jermyn’s Lane Ampfield to a modern Propagation unit in1968