A new project will be starting at Bristol Zoo Gardens as part of the Communities in Nature programme initiated and coordinated by Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI), and funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian foundation.
This is a trial run of an idea that we have been wanting to experiment with for some time. As many people do not have the space or the time to look after a whole National Plant Collection, the idea of a collection dispersed between members of a group with a central person to coordinate and report on the collection is a possible way forward.
Finding a group of people and a willing person to act as a coordinator has been the sticking point to date; but as part of the Communities in Nature initiative, Bristol Zoo Gardens have been able to commence trialling the idea. If it is successful it is hoped that it will become a National Plant Collection in the future, but there are many things that we have to learn along the way!
At present they have 5 groups ready to grow and training and distribution of seeds and materials is all set to go. They have picked Calendula and are hoping to grow species rather than cultivars as this will chime with the Zoo’s commitment to the GSPC.
Will people enjoy doing it? Will it be easy to coordinate the plants and the people? How will the seed-saving go? Will there be measurable benefits to convince others to participate?
Follow their progress on the blog here