New National Collection of Meconopsis for Plant Heritage

Plant Heritage is delighted to welcome a stunning new Collection of Meconopsis, large perennial spp and hybrids, to its nation-wide programme of National Plant Collections.
 
The Collection, which is based at The Lakeland Horticultural Society Gardens at Holehird, Windermere, is organised by volunteer gardener Pat Murphy, and others.
 
Holehird gardens host a demonstration bed of the same plants being trialled at RHS Harlow Carr which started in 2009. The colour of the flowers, often an unusually vibrant blue, is a constant source of fascination. Holehird does however have a long association with the genus Meconopsis quintuplinervia probably being introduced to the gardens as early as 1914.¹
 
Meconopsis is a genus of the flowering plants in the Papaveraceae family and was first described by the French botanist Viguier in 1814 as ‘poppy like.’ Native to the Himalayas, many plants were brought back by Victorian plant hunters and have hybridised to produce new cultivars.

The plant has a reputation as being difficult to grow from seed although Pat says that when germinating new plants using fresh seed helps.
 
Speaking on the new Collection Plant Heritage plant conservation officer Mercy Morris said: ‘I am very pleased to welcome our third collection of Meconopsis which demonstrates the sterling work being done at Holehird, and by the Meconopsis Group (http://www.meconopsis.org/) in researching and growing these beautiful plants. They are not easy to grow, and the more people helping to conserve them the better’
 
Holehird Gardens are open daily throughout the year from dawn until dusk and volunteer wardens are in reception between Easter and the end of October from 10am-5pm. The gardens are maintained by a team of volunteer and a donation towards the upkeep of the gardens of £4 per adult is appreciated. 

¹ Meconopsis quintuplinervia was introduced by Farrer who was sponsored by the then owners of Holehird Mansion. Holehird has written evidence that M. betonicifolia (now re-named M. baileyi) was grown in the garden in the 1960’s.
 
When species were introduced they hybridised naturally, once grown close together, in western gardens. Some hybridisation, of course, was done deliberately by gardeners and enthusiasts.
 
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