Conservation, Preservation and Demonstration: the What, Why and How of National Plant Collections

This joint event organised by Plant Heritage and PlantNetwork on Thursday 26th September at Upton House provided an overview of the National Plant Collection® scheme.

A plant collection is simply a collection of plants. However, the Plant Heritage National Plant Collection® scheme supports individuals or organisations to document, develop and preserve a comprehensive collection of one group of plants in trust for the future. Such collections can be used to conserve rare or threatened plants, preserve heritage cultivars or to demonstrate the range of plants in a particular genus or species. Most of the collections are based around a related group, for example a collection of oaks or heritage daffodils, providing systematic coverage of cultivated plants in the UK and Ireland. 

This Plant Heritage and PlantNetwork training day provided a toolkit for anyone thinking of starting a National Plant Collection, or anyone involved in managing and maintaining a National Plant Collection. It looks at the practical issues and implications of plant collections, and the support available.

Speakers from Plant Heritage, the Royal Horticultural Society, National Botanic Garden of Wales and other gardens/plant collections provided a detailed insight into aspects relating to starting, managing and maintaining a National Plant Collection. The day also included a guided tour of the Upton House and Gardens National Plant Collections of Symphyotrichum cordifolius, Symphyotrichum ericoides and Aster amellus which looked spectacular at the time of the event! The tour also looked at the garden more widely, demonstrating how a plant collection can contribute to the setting, appearance and interest of a garden.