Wild plants receive some protection and conservation from international organisations and some governments, but those which people have selected or bred and which we grow in our gardens don’t. If we want to keep the huge range of plants that we can grow in the UK we need to try to do something about this.
Does this matter?
Retail horticulture focuses on a limited selection of cultivars to ensure supply and sales, but this restricts what is available to gardeners. By conserving older, less available ones the scheme provides growers more choice and variety.
Plants come in and out of fashion as new cultivars come to market. If they are not in demand at the moment, plants may be lost or increasingly rare to source and the range of plants available will become increasingly smaller.
So yes, it does matter.
So what’s the Hardy Plant Society doing?
The HPS has a national Conservation Scheme which aims to identify and preserve at least some of the plants in danger of being lost. As a volunteer member of the Conservation Scheme, you will assist the local Group co-ordinator to:
• identify perennial plants in need of conservation. Usually, this means plants which have fewer than four entries in the RHS Plant Finder, or those deemed worth preserving but not in the Plant Finder at all.
• assess whether the plants identified are truly good garden plants
• identify growing conditions which encourage the plants to thrive in different parts of the country.
• identify suitable propagation techniques for the plants.
• propagate and distribute conserved plants to other HPS members, national plant collection-holders and nurseries
It’s a great way to ensure that plants at danger of being lost within our gardens have a change of being conserved, to get hands on with propagating, to meet other members of the scheme and it’s a good way of getting your hands on a rare plant!
How can I get involved?
If you are interested and would like to find out more, get in touch with your local Group Co-ordinator, Karen Swayne,(email@example.com) or with the National Co-ordinator. More details about the scheme can also be found on the HPS website, Conservation Scheme - Hardy Plant Society (hardy-plant.org.uk)