Celebrity plant seeds at Hampton Court Palace Flower show

Visitors to Hampton Court Palace Flower Show this year will have the opportunity to take home seeds from celebrities’ gardens thanks to the Plant Heritage Seed Shop.
 
Now in its sixth year the ever popular Seed Shop has a staggering selection of over 4,000 packets of seeds which, for the first time, include seeds harvested from celebrity gardens.
 
Guitarist Brian May from famous rock band Queen, has kindly donated a number of seed cultivars, and pop star and radio presenter Kim Wilde has donated Phlomis russeliana from her garden.


Modern day plant hunter and Colombian jungle kidnap survivor Tom Hart Dyke has provided a massive selection of seeds from his own World Garden at Lullingstone castle Kent, including the amazing Ecballium elaterium (squirting cucumber) which, as its name suggests, ejects its seeds over 30ft. Speaking on how he collects the seeds Tom said he uses a variety of methods including placing bags over the seed heads as well as trying to catch them in a bucket: “This is one exciting plant,” he said. “Just stand back and duck when it decides to do its stuff!” he added.

 
Within this “magical shop” of seeds, gardeners will find rare specimens as well as plants from cultivated source material of endangered wild plants. One such plant that Janet is particularly excited to have is Trochetiopsis ebenus (St Helena Ebony) of which only two plants are known to be left in the wild. The attractive South Atlantic shrub bears fantastic single white flowers and has been deemed so rare that a special breeding programme has been set up at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

Other rare plants include a selection from Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Hampshire and a range of seeds from Mr and Mrs Pitman who hold a National Collection of Penstemon. They have donated some very rare and unusual seeds from the American Penstemon Society.

The seed team, led by Janet Wright and June James, spend the entire year sourcing seeds from members, National Plant Collection Holders and botanic gardens. They then label each packet using the Brother label machine for the flower show. The seed packets are available for a minimum donation of £1.50 to Plant Heritage, and over the past five years this fundraising activity has generated a fantastic £16,500 for the charity.

Speaking in the run up to the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show Plant Heritage Fundraising Officer, Joanna Jones said she was delighted with the celebrity garden seeds that have been donated this year. “The Seed Shop is now the heart of the Plant Heritage marquee where visitors love to see what exciting seeds are on offer. The Seed Shop is a real treasure trove.”
 
All funds raised over the week will go to the charity’s Threatened Plants Appeal which will help us safeguard Britain’s gardens as we know them for the future.
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