Plants, animals and people

You might remember Gillian’s article earlier this year, “Measuring the Marigolds” on the Dispersed National Collection of Calendula.
To celebrate the Bronze Medal awarded to the display at Hampton Court Flower Show in July, a social event was organised a month ago at Bristol Zoo Gardens:

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Eddie Mole (Bristol Zoo Head of Horticulture), The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress and Dr. Bryan Carroll (Director of Bristol Zoo Gardens)

Representatives of the community groups growing Calendula across Bristol (schools, community gardens, youth groups, care homes…) had been invited, and it all made for a joyful event. There were Calendula-themed activities for children, gardening advice and Pimm’s for the grown-ups.

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In the gardens, the Calendula species and cultivars were still in full flower. The Zoo focuses on growing species, including some which are endangered in the wild such as Calendula maritima

Bristol Zoo Gardens are also custodians of another National Collection, which was just coming into flower in September. Hedychium (Ginger lilies) are native to Asia and much appreciated for their exotic-looking flowers and intoxicating scent. The Zoo recently did a 3-years trial to discover hardy species and cultivars that could be grown in the UK.

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Hedychiums are being grown around animal enclosures and in the zoo’s nursery, and the Collection comprises over 70 taxa to date. Here are just two beautiful species from the gardens, H. gardenerianum and H. spicatum:

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Bristol Zoo Gardens has recently launched another project, the People’s Plant Collection, which would be the “first community owned plant collection” of native wildflowers. They have applied for Big Lottery Funding, feel free to have a look and support them: http://www.bristolzoo.org.uk/grow-wild-bristol-needs-you

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