New life for old heathers

When Elsie Ide, widow of plant hunter Dick Ide approached RHS Garden Wisley and John Hall of the Heather Society with what were believed to be the last surviving plants of Calluna vulgaris 'Trinklet' and 'Mickkle Dickkle', they initially proved tricky to propagate.

Luckily John's green-fingered 13 year old daughter Molly, the youngest Heather Society member, managed to successfully root 60 cuttings at her father’s nursery, John Hall Plants. 
 
In December last year, Molly and John, along with Dick's son Mike and daughter Penny, watched the two heathers being planted into the safe hands of the National Plant Collections (NPCs) of heather at RHS Wisley. 
 
These two cultivars have yet to be assessed for their threatened status, because having been lost to cultivation they haven’t appeared in nursery lists or in the RHS Plant Finder. The expert assessment process that is part of the Threatened Plants Project (TPP) is in part designed to rediscover lost cultivars and these plants will consequently be added to the TPP list. It is a great success that the future of these plants will now be safeguarded in the NPC.
 
Dick’s son, Mike Ide thanked everyone involved saying:
 
“It means so much that Dick’s passion for heathers is being cared for through an amazing bunch of enthusiasts. Who would have thought that something that started out as nothing more than a hobby would end up in RHS Garden Wisley. It was probably beyond Dick’s wildest dreams. 
 
“The planting ceremony was very precious to the family as we were representing Dad and Mum's little treasures they found on their holidays. It was an emotional event as it means we are now bedded together by name and species in the heather gardens.”
 
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