Garden Lovers Treated to Rare glimpse of Sussex National Plant Collections

Garden lovers in West Sussex are being treated to an opportunity to visit a unique garden, home to the National Plant Collections of Myrtaceae and Gongora orchids, in the first of our 2014 Plant Heritage open days.

The Collections, owned by Drs Gary and Maria Firth, will open on Sunday 6th April from 1pm to 5pm at 9 Harlands Close, Haywards Heath, RH16 1PS. Refreshments will be available.
Myrtles are renowned for being difficult to grow in the UK, being only semi hardy in some parts of the country although the Firth’s have overcome this through their meticulous care, giving visitors an exceptional glimpse of these plants.  
Plant Heritage Plant Conservation Officer, Mercy Morris said: “Gary & Maria are cramming a wealth of plant diversity into their small garden, and dramatically increasing the number of collections in West Sussex! They are demonstrating one of the prime functions of the National Collection Holder: that of sorting out the nomenclature and creating a reference collection for others to use.”
Speaking before the Open day Plant Heritage President, Alan Titchmarsh, commented that “This initiative is a fantastic opportunity for garden lovers in West Sussexto discover some of the beautiful and diverse plants held in their local National Collections.
“Plant conservation is as much about passing on the knowledge as it is about growing the plant. This is only the second time the Collections have opened solely in support of the charity.” he added.
Gary and Maria will be on hand to answer queries throughout the day, so whether you’re an absolute beginner or seasoned plantsman visitors will be able to take away some valuable advice.
The National Plant Collections Scheme is the flagship of Plant Heritage and is the prime mechanism for ensuring the survival of cultivated plant species and cultivars. The Holders are volunteers, be that private individuals working in their back garden or Head Gardeners on a large estate. They are all passionate about their plants and keen to share their knowledge.
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