Featured Conservation Plants
The HPS Conservation Scheme aims to identify and preserve some of the garden plants in danger of being lost. HPS members across the country, either within their local group or individually, grow plants chosen for the scheme and report back on their experience of growing and propagating them.
Since the present scheme started in 1998, we have been successful in conserving over 30 plant varieties which we consider worthy of being grown in British gardens. However, a large number of potentially gardenworthy plants is still in need of conservation.
The scheme is open to all HPS members. You can find more information about it here.
If you are interested in making this or any other of our conservation plants available commercially, please contact our National Coordinator.
My latest Lockdown Project is to re-vamp an old bed on my allotment. This was almost the first section I worked and planted up when I took on the plot. It was meant to be an herbaceous bed in a sea of vegetables. It’s where I planted out my first Conservation Scheme plants
A plant name mystery has been discovered in the Conservation Scheme database. In January Cathy Rollinson posted on the Conservation Scheme Facebook page that the plant we list as Persicaria runcinata Needham’s form is probably really Persicaria sinuata. She found this after reading the description on the website of Growild Nursery, which now lists it as Persicaria sinuata EN. So which is it?
The RHS Award of Garden Merit is given to plants after a period of assessment by experts and intended as a practical guide for the gardener. The HPS Conservation Scheme has several plants that hold AGM's such as Bergenia 'Pugsley's Pink' and Iris sibirica 'Peter Hewitt'.
This month I thought it might be interesting to look at how some of the conservation plants have performed so far this year. There are many conservation plants still to come in the latter half of the year and I will do another review in the autumn.
Dianthus 'Gold Dust' is said to have been raised from a batch of Allwoodii Alpinus Group seed around 1970 and named by S. Jackson in 1981 who found the plant in a garden in the East Yorkshire town of Beverley. The garden owner had bought it from a stallholder at a local fete who had grown it from seed.
Geranium x oxonianum hybrids (a cross between G. endressii and Ger. versicolor) are common with over 60 listed in the RHS Plant Finder in 2019, so with plenty to choose from why add G. x ox. 'Diane's Treasure' to the Conservation Scheme? It was suggested as suitable for conservation last year and has not been listed in the Plant Finder since 2016.
A new HPS booklet on Border Phlox will be published later this year, and it seems appropriate that we have several more phlox that are new to the Conservation List. Phlox paniculata 'Maude Stella Dagley' was featured in January, but here are four more of these lovely border perennials being grown and assessed for the Conservation Scheme this year.
Epimedium 'Milky Way' forms a mature clump approximately 30cm x 30cm; the new spring foliage is attractively speckled with deep purple and leaves mature to green with a silver overlay on the main veins; these are semi-evergreen, often persisting through the winter. Clusters of small white flowers with yellow stamens are held on long stems in April and May.
Phlox paniculata is native to Eastern USA and Canada and plants with mauve flowers were brought to Britain around 1730, but it was not until the early 1900's that plant breeders set about improving plants for the cut flower trade although it became popular in late Victorian and Edwardian gardens and a favourite of Gertrude Jekyll.
It was decided that it is time to say goodbye to a few plants that have featured on the list for a number of years because they are shrubs, plants with a woody structure and conservation of this type of plant does not fulfil our constitutional objective to preserve the older and less well known hardy perennials.
HPS members have a wealth of experience of growing hardy perennial plants and are asked to propose plants they think are worthy of conservation, particularly some of the older cultivars that are hard to find in nurseries or garden centres.
Chrysanthemum 'Romantica' was suggested for inclusion by HPS Hampshire Group in 2018 whose members have grown it since 2012. The name spelt with a 'c' as here is the RHS accepted name although a plant listed by Plant Heritage is C. 'Romantika', with a 'k', and may well be the same plant.
Phlox paniculata 'Lady Clare' is the fourth of the plants introduced to the Conservation Scheme last year. The Hampshire Group thought it worthy of inclusion because the large pale pink flowers with a deeper soft pink eye have a wonderful fragrance.
The Scheme is still looking for a National Coordinator and quite a few Local Groups are not represented. Information about the Scheme and the plants we grow can be found by following the About Plants / Conservation link from the home screen. If you enjoy growing and propagating plants and would like to be involved then please get in touch (email@example.com)
The Conservation Scheme is looking for suggestions of plants that you would like to add to the list. Herbaceous perennials fall in and out of favour and you may be surprised to discover that your favourite plant is no longer readily available to buy. Which plant would you choose for Conservation?