Plant Heritage awards four new National Plant Collections® to ensure plants are conserved for the next generation

Plant Heritage is delighted to welcome four new National Plant Collections to its conservation programme, awarded at its last Plant Conservation Committee meeting.

Plant Heritage already has over 600 National Plant Collections around the UK, conserving over 100,000 plants. The four new awards will offer greater security for the plants in these Collections, with new individuals and organisations undertaking to conserve them for future generations.

All National Plant Collections are now allocated categories of Horticultural, Reference and Historic, highlighted in the new Collections below. Plant Heritage's new category system gives an insight into why a Collection Holder sets out to collect particular plants, and their vision for how the Collection will develop. Find out more about the new categories here.

Rosa - Hybrid Musk Intro by Pemberton & Bentall 1912-1939 (Historic Collection), Lancashire

When Catherine Penny sold Stydd Nursery in 2002, she realised that some of the unique collection of old roses accumulated over the past 20 years would be lost to commerce because the new owners were not rose growers. This is why Catherine applied for National Plant Collection status for the collection.

The nursery’s rose fields have always been at Catherine’s home at Dutton Hall, where the Collection now lives on. Among these varieties are a large number of the Hybrid Musk roses bred by renowned rose breeders, Pemberton and Bentall, which thrive in the damp Lancashire climate. They are prolific flowerers and easy to place in many gardens. Some of the earlier Pemberton varieties seem to have been nearly forgotten and yet they exhibit the same attractive qualities as the popular ones.

Image: Rosa ‘Danaë’ one of the first to be introduced by Joseph Pemberton in 1913.

(Historic Collection), Norfolk

Alan Gray and Graham Robeson purchased East Ruston Old Vicarage, a neglected Arts and Crafts vicarage in 1973, where they set to work creating this now much loved garden from what was essentially a blank canvas. As far as Colchicum is concerned, the affection is mutual: Alan loves them and they love the space and growing conditions of the gardens. The collection has been built up over the past few years from a diverse range of sources – Felbrigg Hall, Richard Hobbs, specialist growers and individual collectors.

The conservation status of two cultivars in the Collection (Colchicum ‘Jolanthe’ and C. speciosum ‘Maximum’) have improved as a direct result of being registered in a National Plant Collection, one has progressed from ‘Critically Endangered’ to ‘Endangered in Cultivation’ and one from ‘Endangered’ to ‘Vulnerable in Cultivation’, according to research from the Threatened Plants Project.

Image: Colchicum ‘Jaroslavna’

Clivia (Reference Collection), Hampshire

In 2013 June James, who has helped to run our Seed Shop at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show for almost a decade, was introduced to Mike Jeans, who had been looking for someone to take over his Clivia Collection for several years. He had been struggling to find anyone willing to afford the winter heating requirements, until June came along. Over the past four years, June and Mike have worked together to duplicate the Collection in the glasshouse of her garden in Hampshire. Clivia is a striking evergreen perennial, originating from low-lying woodlands in southern Africa.

Image: Clivia miniata ‘Hugletts Red Starburst’

Fragaria Vesca (Reference Collection), County Durham

Dianne and David Nichol-Brown, of Polemonium Plantery in Country Durham, have added to their National Plant Collections of Polemonium, Collomia, Gilia, Leptodactylon (Polemoniaceae) and Hakonechloa, with a Collection of Fragaria vesca (wild strawberry). They have grown several cultivars of F. vesca and harvest the fruit, to serve at their organic bed and breakfast to guests and to visitors of the garden. Dianne and David are particularly attracted to plants native to the north east, with gold foliage and variegated forms.

Image: Fragaria vesca ‘Yellow Wonder’ (left) & ‘Alibaba’ (right)

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