Is that a…..?

Going around a garden with a bunch of National Plant Collection Holders is a joy for anyone interested in plants.  They can get excited about the fiercest looking plants



the rarest

Cat pointing out a Juania australis from Chile

Cat pointing out a Juania australis from Chile

and the most precarious

Puya ('Precariosa' perhaps?)

Puya (‘Precariosa’ perhaps?)

We were at Overbecks in Devon for a county Collection Holders meeting and blessed with sunshine the day was a great success.


Under its original name of Sharpitor the property was used as a hospital in WW1 and subsequently bought by the inventor Otto Overbeck.


The house, now cared for by the National Trust, contains many of his collections of natural and maritime specimens


as well as the most uncomfortable looking bicycle.


Talks in the morning were from Dick Fulcher on endangered rhododendrons and Mercy Morris on the latest conservation news from National Office.


Lunch was a great opportunity to catch up and put faces to names.


Paul Champion from Bicton College, Jonathan Webster from Rosemoor, David and Penny Ross, Fi Reddaway, Mercy


Beverley Sugden, Sally Wills, Jonathan Hutchinson from Rosemoor, Dick Fulcher

After catching up over lunch we were taken around the garden, filled with Mediterranean plants, by the Head Gardener Catrina Saunders,


who introduced us to Magnolia campbellii ‘Overbecks’


a beautiful tree, protected from the recent storms by the headland and just coming into flower.


On checking the spelling of this name in the Plant Finder I discovered two other cultivars with names related to this property.  Fuchsia magellanica var. molinae ‘Sharpitor’ and Fuchsia ‘Overbecks Ruby’, last listed in the PF in 2008, which I have in my garden.
The the label says;

a self sown seedling at Overbecks, Devon, c 1960.  It is now on the National Trust’s Red List having been tracked back to single nursery supplier in Scotland.  It will be introduced back to Overbecks this summer.

I got this plant in 2012 and according to Kalani, one of our TPP coordinators, the NT have now placed three plants at Overbecks and are propagating more.  Along with the Magnolia these are definite candidates for Plant Guardian status, and demonstrate the value of identifying Threatened Plants and actively propagating them.  Look out for the Fuchsia in next year’s Plant Exchange.

Like herding cats, it’s impossible to get everyone together for a group photo, but this is a best shot.


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