Little did I know when I was growing up in Northumberland that I was living a few streets away from a future National Plant Collection Holder and a Scientific collection holder at that. So my homing instincts took me straight to the right address for the Collection of Sedum held by Ray and Joyce Stephenson.
The front garden with its scree planting hints at what lies elsewhere, but nothing could really prepare me for the extensive collection of succulents housed in raised beds, greenhouses and in stone edged borders.
The collection comprises 1400 plants and Ray’s travels have taken him all over the world to see the plants in the wild. The recent bad winters have led to some losses but the gaps have soon been filled with plants grown from seed or from other members of the Sedum Society which Ray helped to set up.
Sedum suaveolens from Mexico has more chromosomes (330+) than any other living thing.
Sedum amabilis will only grow from seed and this specimen is 25 years old.
Ray has taken on a collection of Jovibarba (bred by Cornelius Versteeg) from Derek LeMare and is applying for National Plant Collection status for it.
Ray has lent us some plants for display at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2011 and I enjoyed choosing a variety of plant forms which come from Japan, Mexico, Turkey, South Africa and the Tyrol. They will be used to demonstrate the ‘Living Library of Plants’ cared for in the National Plant Collections. I am looking forward to another look at the collection when I return the plants after their holiday in Surrey.