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Two National Plant Collections rescued during 2020s spring lockdown are saved by new Collection Holders, plus 13 new collections accredited

19th January, 2021

Horticultural conservation charity Plant Heritage has accredited 13 new National Plant Collections, including two collections that overcame significant obstacles posed by 2020’s spring lockdown and were relocated to new homes despite the challenges of Covid-19. Now, both thrive in their new locations and the newly accredited 13 collections brings the charity’s total to an impressive 666.

 

The first is a collection of Nerine sarniensis (known also as Guernsey or Jersey lily) and a hardy Nerine collection formerly held by a Collection Holder in Devon. Both had to be relocated from their previous home in Devon when unforeseen circumstances meant a quick move. Now, the Nerine sarniensis (692 different varieties) lives on at Cotswold Garden Flowers in Worcestershire, while the hardy Nerine collection (over 100 different varieties) settles into life at nearby RHS Garden Rosemoor in Devon. Together the Nerine collections numbered over 2,000 plants – an incredible feat to prepare and relocate during 2020’s spring lockdown.

 

The second is a Ruscus collection, which was also rehomed during last year’s spring lockdown. Prior to the first lockdown, its former owner had started re-establishing the collection to its new location. Like the Nerine collections, the move was finally completed during 2020’s spring lockdown, despite the challenges posed. This somewhat underappreciated genus now also calls RHS Garden Rosemoor home and grows throughout the gardens, but primarily can be found in the Bicentenary Arboretum.

Vicki Cooke, Conservation Manager at Plant Heritage says: “We are delighted that after the challenges of 2020 people across the country still found the energy and enthusiasm to look out for our garden heritage. While it is of course sad that two of our Collection Holders have had to give up their collections (one unexpectedly), we are heartened that despite the obstacles posed by Covid-19, those collections already have new homes where they can thrive once again.”

 The ten other collections that have been awarded National Plant Collection status are:

  • The UK’s only collection of Abutilon, held in Herefordshire. Like other recent collections, this is another successful succession story with the collection being revived as a National Plant Collection by the current custodians in 2020
  • Also at RHS Garden Rosemoor, a collection of Rowden Iris (bred by the local nursery Rowden Gardens) has helped to transform the old bog garden - especially come late-May!
  • A collection of plants named after Sir Winston Churchill is now held at Churchill College, Cambridge, alongside the National and Commonwealth memorial to Sir Winston Churchill
  • Several acres of Eucalyptus growing in an Oxfordshire woodland has had a helping hand from the local Plant Heritage group, who have helped the Collection Holder digitally map and produce labels for the hundreds of trees in this collection
  • A Mentha collection in Cheshire that began as a simple horticultural interest but has blossomed into a collection comprising over 19 species, with 131+ plants collected in the last five years
  • Pretty Portland roses (Rosa) growing in Fife remind all who visit (in non-Covid times) of this historically important small group of stunning roses, with an amazing scent
  • A Parthenocissus collection that boasts spectacular autumn colours is helping the team at RHS Wisley to show off the beauty of unfashionable and misunderstood plants
  • A long-standing interest in shady plants that originate from China and Japan has led to the creation of a Disporopsis, Disporum & Prosartes collection in Suffolk
  • A collection of Hydrangea serrata in Argyll & Bute that began in 2004 is going from strength to strength, with the Collection Holder sharing knowledge and expanding the collection where possible
  • A Uvularia collection in Yorkshire that’s pivotal to its Collection Holder’s ongoing research and breeding programme, ensuring the longevity of this genus

Vicki continues: “These ‘living libraries’ of plants help to conserve our nation’s rich horticultural history, and with the help and enthusiasm of our Collection Holders, Plant Guardians, local groups and members, we can continue working to ensure that cultivated garden plants are looked after for future generations to enjoy as much as we currently do.”

 

To find your nearest National Plant Collection, visit www.plantheritage.org.uk. Using the interactive map, search via county, plant genus or common name to find out more. You can contact the Collection Holder for advice and find out if you can visit virtually or in person once restrictions allow.

 

To find out more about Plant Heritage, its National Plant Collections or for information about how to become a Collection Holder, Plant Guardian or member, visit www.plantheritage.org.uk

Conserving the diversity of garden plants

eg: plant genus, common name, county, collection holder name.