PlantNetwork and COVID-19

We are experiencing an unprecedented international situation with many countries in different stages of ‘lockdown’, social gatherings banned and everyone asked (or required) to stay at home. Public gardens have closed to visitors. Across the UK and Ireland as well as many other countries, gardens are being maintained by skeleton garden teams carrying out the critical duties to keep gardens alive. Many more staff are working from home or furloughed during this critical period.

While furloughed workers are not able to work, they can still undertake training. PlantNetwork has developed a range of resources and online events to engage furloughed staff as well as those who are still able/permitted to work.

Our intention is to support all our members where we can and have arranged the following:

  • A COVID-19 resource page which will be updated with information and tools that might be useful to public gardens during closure and beyond. We would like YOU to contribute to this – please share any resources you develop that you think might be useful to other gardens such as posters, risk assessments, policy templates, plant care suggestions etc.
  • A regular online COVID-19 discussion session which provides an opportunity for PlantNetwork members to share issues and try to identify solutions during garden closure. The first session takes place at 2pm on Wednesday 1st April with further meetings scheduled for 29th April and 27th May.
  • A series of webinars which are FREE to all members (personal and institutional) including all those at home. As well as the COVID-19 sessions, the webinars will address a range of different topics from sustainability to apprenticeships as well as seed banks, water management and much more. All webinars and registration forms are available on the Meetings webpage. April and May programmes are currently open for bookings. Missed the webinar? Look out for links to the recordings in the newsletter.
  • A weekly virtual coffee morning. Join us at 11am every Friday for an informal chat – bring a coffee and (optional) cake! The link to this Zoom room is listed in the newsletter.
  • All members who will be unable to access their work emails but would like to stay connected to our horticultural community can register again using both work and personal email addresses.
  • An expanded weekly newsletter with additional stories and news items.
  • More resources and useful horticultural material such as our peat-free report.

If you would like to contribute anything during this period, please get in touch. If you have an article for syndication or if you would like to guest post, we’d be very interested in hearing from you. Descriptions of work you have recently undertaken (restoration of garden areas, new planting plans enacted or conservation projects in progress), photographic before and after descriptions, garden history, features on particular plants (species, genus or family), garden trends and themes, and even profiles of people associated with gardens are among the many topics/areas we would welcome.

We would also like to hear from you if you have suggestions for topics we should be covering in our webinars or reports  – or would like to contribute to a topic but not lead on it.

We would like to wish all our members well during these uncertain times.