Did you know that a National Plant Collection home to 4-5,000 cacti from South America can be admired in Aberdeenshire, or that noted physiologist Sir Michael Foster’s historic collection of irises, kept by his great, great granddaughter can be seen in Suffolk? Or, that you can see over 50 types of eucalyptus tree in Kent?
This Friday 22nd May (at 8am) you can sit back, admire and enjoy an engaging new video created by horticultural charity Plant Heritage, featuring the above National Plant Collections – and more – as part of the RHS Virtual Chelsea Flower Show.
Vicki Cooke, Plant Conservation Manager, Plant Heritage explains: “The four collections featured in our video show the diversity of plants that are looked after by our Collection Holders. As we’re unable to showcase our work at Chelsea as planned, everyone will instead have the chance to see these beautiful collections via our video. Viewers will hear from those working to save four different types of plant as to why it is vital that we preserve our garden plants.”
The video begins with a welcome from Alan Titchmarsh (Plant Heritage’s President), before taking viewers into the world of irises, lilies, eucalypti and cacti. Bursting with colour, and packed full of interesting insights from those who care for and nurture these precious National Plant Collections – and all with the backdrop of beautiful birdsong – watching this 10 minute video is guaranteed to be time well spent.
The video features Lucy Skellorn, great, great granddaughter of physiologist Sir Michael Foster. Lucy knew little of his iris collection until she found some papers whilst clearing out the family home. Since realising he was considered to be the father of iris breeding, Lucy’s been searching all across the world to reunite the irises that he bred, and continues to care for this Iris collection at her home in Suffolk. Madeline Tinson’s extensive collection of Lilium (Mylnefield lilies) in Perthshire, Tom Hart Dyke’s Eucalyptus collection in Kent, and Paul Doyle’s Rebutia, Aylostera & Weingartia (incl. Sulcorebutia) cacti collection in Aberdeenshire also feature.
For those unable to watch the video live, it will be available on the Plant Heritage website afterwards, at: www.plantheritage.org.uk
National Plant Collections are at the heart of Plant Heritage. They are living plant libraries, showcasing the diversity of our nation’s cultivated plants. This conservation scheme (containing around 95,000 plants held across 650 collections in the UK) ensures that these garden plants will be there for future generations to enjoy as much as we currently do.
Vicki continues: “We’re a nation of gardeners and now more than ever those who have a garden are spending more time exploring what theirs has to offer and what they can grow. You don’t need a huge garden to have a National Collection – some are held in the tiniest of spaces, in greenhouses, on allotments and even on shelves indoors! We hope our new video will inspire all who watch it to help us to save our garden plants and perhaps start a collection of their own.”
Plant Heritage is the only national charity working to safeguard the UK’s horticultural heritage and conserve the diversity of garden plants by keeping living examples of rare plants via its National Plant Collections and with its Plant Guardians.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. If you don’t have a garden or are unable to look after a National Collection, but would like to still help, any donation, to help Plant Heritage continue their work, is greatly appreciated.
To watch this video as part of Virtual Chelsea, visit: www.rhs.org.uk/virtualchelsea
Images: Lilium ‘Eileen North’, credit Stan Farrow (L) and Rebutia, credit Paul Doyle (R)