I started Restios Blanco in 2006 after 25 years working in television as a director cameraman.
My aim is to grow species of tall growing restios from seed to maturity and make them available to landscape architects and gardeners.
Now almost five years since my original germinations I have around 600 restios consisting of some 20 species. Seed is sourced from South Africa, USA and occasionally Europe. Plants are housed in a polytunnel and Victorian melon house during winter then brought out in summer. They grow in containers in organic media, irrigated with rainwater and fed with organic slow release fertiliser.
In November 2010 I was awarded National Collection status for Restionaceae (tall growing). Plant Heritage oversees some 650 specialist plant collections but this is the first National Collection of restios in UK.
Michael Woolls Blanco
Restios is the common name used for the Restionaceae family of perennial, evergreen, grass or rush-like plants. They are beautiful, dramatic, architecturally stunning, extremely elegant plants with a huge range of form and colour. Able to withstand frost and drought, virtually pest and disease free and requiring almost no maintenance with some species living for thirty years or more. Restios are a plant for the gardens, landscapes, and municipal plantings of the future. The only question is why they are not better known in this country. But perhaps that is about to change …