If you had ever wondered if anybody was safeguarding all the flowering plants we enjoy in our gardens then it was reassuring to learn that there are more than 600 National Plant Collections around the UK where plants are maintained and propagated to ensure that they do not become extinct.
All this voluntary work is managed by Plant Heritage, formerly known as the National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens, which was formed to conserve and safeguard the garden flora that exists across Britain and Ireland.
Our speaker, Sarah Quarterman the Chief Executive of Plant Heritage, who also happens to be a member of YDGS, treated us to a most informative account of how this organisation achieves its objective, thanks to work of hundreds of volunteer gardeners and nurserymen throughout the UK who care for these collections.
So often plants come in and out of fashion and without the maintenance of every cultivar there is a risk that some would be lost forever when they cease to be fashionable. We were shown examples of some National Plant Collections including sweet peas, Michaelmas daisies and clematis and were impressed by the commitment displayed by those volunteers who dedicate themselves to maintaining collections amounting to several hundred cultivars. For those who would like to become involved with this important work it is possible to become a Plant Guardian by giving home to just one rare plant in our garden.
We learnt that it is possible to visit these National Collections by becoming a member of Plant Heritage (annual subscription £30) which also enables you to purchase and exchange some of the rare and unusual plants that are not readily available in garden centres.
We thank Sarah for a most interesting and lively presentation.