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Hilary Publishes Industry Textbook

Envisage Gardens' Consultant Horticulturist Hilary Collins publishes a world-first horticultural textbook.

hilary collins charlie hartigan fantastic foliage eucalyptus
Dream team! Written, edited and published in-house.

Hilary is most well-known to Envisage clients for her stunning planting design work. But secretly she has been working on new publication, "Fantastic Foliage and How to Farm It; the essential guide to growing cut Eucalyptus". A textbook for hobby or commercial foliage growers, the culmination of a decade's worth of research and, we believe, the first of its kind in the world.

Hilary wears two hats; Envisage planting designer and Hardy Eucalyptus CEO. Hilary has been jointly running a garden design practice along side a plant nursery for the best part of 35 years. She is an exceptional plantswoman and uses her artistic & scientific abilities to create the beautiful borders that have become an Envisage trademark. Clients are particular fond of her "seasonal colour" borders and wildlife-focused planting schemes.

As well as a planting designer, she is an RHS Chelsea Gold-winning horticulturist and owns Grafton Nursery, the physical base of Envisage Gardens and the nursery in which Envisage grows their plant material, but also the home of Hardy Eucalyptus. Hardy Eucalyptus is the brand name of the UK's largest Eucalyptus tree nursery stocking over 70 different species and variety's of Eucalyptus trees, most of which are grown from seed and are hardy in UK climates.

Endlessly passionate about trees, Hilary is particularly interested productive trees such as orchards. She gravitated towards Eucalyptus when she discovered an opening in the market for possibly the most useful tree the UK can grow in it's temperamental climate. She supports all sorts of customers including; domestic gardeners, other landscape designers, Flower Farmers, public gardens and arboretums, zoos (for wildlife food production), Foresters and biomass producers, industry bodies, even university research programs.

Top Tip: never visit an arboretum with Hilary... they'll have to send out a search party at closing time and then pry her off the trunk of a rare species with the soft end of a crowbar!

Hilary collins hardy eucalyptus fantastic foliage cut foliage book
Charlie models home-grown Eucalyptus on the front cover

About the Book

The essential guide to growing Eucalyptus for cut foliage. 'Fantastic Foliage and how to Farm It' is the culmination of decades of growing experience, research, and a lifetime's passion for plants. Hilary wrote this book to aggregate her notes for successfully growing Eucalyptus trees for cut foliage production; to support the British Flower Industry and to help combat the ethical and ecological problems associated with the importation of plant material from abroad.

Aimed at both the amateur and professional grower, this book will gives readers the tools to cultivate a healthy and rewarding relationship with their new crop, whether that’s 3 trees, 300, or acres more. Written in an informal style, with tamed biochemistry, and well referenced so readers can do further reading if they wish.

Chapters include topics such as: choosing your Eucalyptus species - what to grow; setting up your site; feeding and weeding your crop; pruning, harvesting and processing; pests, diseases and 'things that go crunch in the night'; growing outside of the UK; and an appendix of data sheets for each of the 27 species Hilary suggests you can grow.

"There are certain people in life that you'll always remember from your first encounter. Hilary is one such person.... blessed with a wonderful beaming smile and heaps of bubble enthusiasm... Scientifically edgy... Hilary is a leading authority on these Antipodean delights..."

- Tom Hart Dyke, plant hunter, President of the Australasian Plant Society, accomplished horticulturist, and fellow Gumnut. Taken from the foreword of "Fantastic Foliage".

Customer Review:

The book is everything I expected and more, just love it. I have spoken to Hilary a few times and the book is just like speaking to her, so very knowledgeable but talking straight to me." - Andrea, of Lavender View Farm

About the Author

Hilary has dedicated the last 10 years of her career to the study and production of Eucalyptus trees. She owns the largest Eucalyptus nursery in the UK, offering a range of 70+ different species, and provides both plant material and horticultural consultations all over the world, including the home of Eucalyptus; Australia!

Hilary holds a BSc(Hons) degree in Horticulture from Bath University and describes herself as an "escaped lab rat". During her career, she has held position as a Junior Scientific Officer at:

- Long Ashton Research Station where she undertook the Specific Apple Replant Disease Trial,

- Showerings Allied Lyons where she set up and ran the Fireblight Trials in perry and cider orchards, and,

- The National Fruit Trials, Brogdale, where she undertook rootstock evaluation, tissue culture, designed and implemented soft fruit shelf-life trials.

Prior to building her Eucalyptus empire, Hilary owned and managed a large retail nursery for 24 years, selling the usual range of garden-ready stock, including Eucalyptus. Her first 'dabble' in business as a fresh-faced postgraduate in 1983 was a tree seed company called Knotty Ash Tree Seeds; a mail order business with beautifully stunning, hand made packaging, distributing to all parts of the UK including into the homes of Royalty, whilst simultaneously running a small plant shop out of the back of her father’s pharmacy!

Hilary Collins hardy eucalyptus gardens illustrated magazine
Hilary with her 6-page article in Gardens Illustrated

Hilary's team at Hardy-Eucalyptus have won 23 Flower Show medals (and counting!), including a Gold Medal at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and a trophy at RHS Malvern, for the display of their Eucalyptus trees.

She has previous experience as an author as she held a column in The Edge magazine, and has written guest articles for industry publications such as Flora.

Hilary and her nursery have been featured in a variety of print media, radio, and TV footage, including the prestigious Gardens Illustrated and the BBC2 TV coverage of the Chelsea Flower Show. She is also regularly asked to give lectures across the country, to share her knowledge with amateur gardening clubs and professional organisations.


Read one of Hilary's horticultural magazine column articles here:

Read more about our Designers here:

Read about Hilary's RHS Chelsea Gold medal here: (Takes you to the nursery's website)


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