Red Labels on Boxing Day

Not a strong drink, but a definite exchange of goodwill – this year with a twist, as the Threatened Plants Project met the Plant Exchange.

Threatened Plants?

Fifty-six different genera of lovely garden plants have now been analysed (see full list being done) by member volunteers and the full-time Coordinator (funded by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation). Out of almost six thousand known cultivars in these genera, nearly three thousand are so rare as to be threatened.

Lost and found

Luckily half of these are already safe in National Plant Collections, plus quite a few in notable gardens such as RHS Wisley and Hilliers. Our own annual Plant Exchange featured no less than 24 different threatened plants (fifteen uniquely found). So I thought it was time to play tag…

The tags: Endangered in Cultivation means rare commercially, but has been found in at least one National Collection or notable garden. If it’s labelled Critical in Cultivation – this is the only plant we know of!

The now-notorious red labels were beautifully prepared by Gillian in advance (showing that Brother also do colour, not just flower show de rigeur black-and-white). Red seemed best to pique interest and it worked – several people asked about them as plants were being corralled, and Alan Titchmarsh even mentioned them in his words to the AGM.

Adopted treasures

Members busy organising, and labels lying in wait for a few more plants for Kent and Norfolk

Boxing for Surrey

Erysimum ‘Joseph’s Coat’, Endangered in Cultivation, being collected by Gillian and Anne for the Surrey Group – North West also had one plant.

Chrysanthemum ‘Cottage Lemon’, Critical in Conservation, plants now on their way to North East and Worcestershire

Rosemary of Hill Close Gardens Trust, donor of Chrysanthemum ‘Cottage Lemon’, Critical in Cultivation, originally obtained from Collection Holder Judy Barker. (Extra points to anyone who can spot the links with allotments.) There were several rare chrysanthemums in the Plant Exchange. Judy often points out they are hardier than once thought –  she is currently involved in RHS trials to encourage us all.

Hardy chrysanthemum trials at Wisley in October

And so, I raise my glass to all concerned – happy growing and sharing in 2012!

Kalani with plants

About TPP Kalani

Dr Kalani Seymour, Threatened Plants Project Coordinator, Plant Heritage (NCCPG)
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