Plant Heritage has teamed up with Sir Harold Hillier Gardens to find guardians to conserve their rare plants

Plant Heritage has teamed up with Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in Hampshire, as part of a trial to find guardians for some of their rarer plants under the Plant Guardian scheme.
Sir Harold Hillier Gardens is Plant Heritage’s largest Collection Holder, with 14 Collections at present. While National Plant Collections® need a certain amount of space, the Plant Guardian scheme is for members who have just one or two rare specimens in their garden and want to make sure they are formally recorded and propagated to ensure survival.

Barry Clarke, a Collection Holder and also Plant Records Officer at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, has been working with Rosie Yeomans, Collections Coordinator for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight local group of Plant Heritage, to find members in the area to look after some of the Garden’s rarer plants.

Barry and David Jewell, Head of Collections at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, chose a selection of plants for which they would like to keep back-ups. These comprise mainly of rare cultivars or those with limited examples growing at the gardens, such as, Cotinus coggygria ‘Pink Fairy’ and Deutzia ‘Hillieri’.  This selection is now being propagated and the first plants have already been registered in the Plant Guardian Scheme and have gone to their new homes. One such plant is the rare Deutzia compacta ‘Edward Needham Pink’ – a form with pink flowers, named for the late Edward Needham, plantsman and explorer, who introduced it into his garden in Tregye, Cornwall.

Plant Heritage hopes to expand this worthwhile project to other gardens around the UK and Ireland, allowing gardens to further safeguard their most important plants and also helping to maintain important links between gardens and local groups of Plant Heritage.
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