Lancashire gardeners called to help conserve garden plants before it's too late

Help prevent plants from disappearing from cultivation before it's too late is the message from Horticultural conservation charity Plant Heritage.

By Emma Downey
Wednesday, 18th May 2022, 11:25 am

Launching its annual ‘Missing Genera’ campaign at RHS Chelsea Flower Show next week, the charity is calling for volunteers across the country to become a National Plant Collection Holder.

This year, there are 12 listed on the Missing Genera including Campanula (bellflowers) and Silene (campions).

The campaign identifies different plant groups that aren’t currently part of a National Plant Collection and therefore could be at risk of being lost from our gardens.

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Plants in need of a National Plant Collection Holder include the Campanula persicifolia 'Takion Blue' bellflowers

The charity will also celebrate the passion and achievements of National Plant Collection Holders, with some exhibiting at the famous flower show for the very first time.

Exhibiting for the first time will be a historic collection of Iris bred by Sir Michael Foster, brought together by his great, great granddaughter Lucy Skellorn, alongside some of Roger Parsons’ extensive Lathyrus (sweet pea) collection.

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Specimens from Dr Simon Charlesworth’s unusual and rare Lavandula collection will also be on display.

The Silene fimbriata is also in need of a Collection Holder

Vicki Cooke, Conservation Manager at Plant Heritage said: “We hope that anyone who visits us at Chelsea will be inspired by stories of Collection Holders going above and beyond to conserve and research their chosen plants, and will be motivated to start their own National Plant Collection from this year’s Missing Genera list.”

The Missing Genera, which this year is sponsored by Griffin Glasshouses, was first launched in 2016. Since then, 13 new National Plant Collections have been started to help preserve some of the plants that have been listed, including Alcea (Hollyhocks) and Hoya.

Most recently, a collection of Tradescantia and another of Verbena have been set up and are now cared for by David Simpson in Gloucestershire and Tracy Jones in Cheshire. These collections were both accredited in 2021, having been listed on the Missing Genera in 2020 and 2019 respectively.

The five-day horticultural phenomenon that sets national gardening trends for the year ahead takes place next week from Tueasday, May 24 to Saturday 28.

The Chelsea Flower Show is held in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, London.

To find out more about Plant Heritage CLICK HERE.