Managing plant conservation within historic gardens and collections


Simon Toomer, National Specialist for Plant Conservation, National Trust

Originally trained in environmental biology and forestry, Simon Toomer has worked as a practical forester, land management advisor and arboriculturalist in both private and local authority sectors. In his current role with the National Trust, he is a national consultant for all areas of garden and parkland plant conservation including plant health and biosecurity, collections management and plant records.

His particular interests lie in the areas of conservation and management of native habitats and the use of ornamental trees and plants in garden landscapes. He previously worked for 15 years as Curator and Director at Westonbirt, The National Arboretum where he was responsible for overseeing the management and development of one of the finest tree collections in the World.  Simon has travelled in many parts of Europe, North America, Asia and Africa in pursuit of trees and is the author of ‘Trees for the Small Garden’ (Timber Press, 2005). In 2009 he completed a second book on the establishment and maintenance of tree collections and arboreta. He is a professional member of the Arboricultural Association and a trustee of the charity Tree Aid. In July 2015 he became Chair of PlantNetwork.

Pam Smith, Gardens Adviser, National Trust Midlands Region

Pam works with property and garden teams in 32 gardens across the Midlands Region. Her role involves advising properties on presentation standards, staff skills and recruitment, restoration and new project work. Her main remit for the coming 12 months is to ensure all gardens have Garden Management Plans which reflect their history, Spirit of Place and resource levels. In addition to this she is currently working on two 18th C Pleasure Ground Restoration projects.

Pam trained in horticulture at Askham Bryan College and later gained a PG Diploma with the Architecture Association in Conservation and Management of Historic Landscapes. Her career started in public parks in NE England followed by 8 years as Director of the University of Birmingham Botanic Garden. She later worked as a freelance horticultural and heritage consultant before taking up the National Trust role in 2011. Pam was Vice Chair of PlantNetwork from 2004 to 2013 before taking up the part time role of PlantNetwork Administrator.

Back to presentations: Plant Collections Management: keeping it legal, ethical and relevant