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October's Conservation Blog

Out with the rogues and in with the new

The annual Conservation Scheme meeting gives us the opportunity to discuss the performance of plants in the Scheme and to question the validity of our stock. Correct identification of older varieties is not always easy because, as we all know, plant labels get lost and plants often seed themselves around with resultant progeny not always remaining true.

This is why we have taken the decision to drop two of the irises from the Conservation Scheme: Iris 'Banbury Gem' and Iris 'Deepening Shadows' do not match descriptions of the plants originally introduced. Anyone growing these plants from the Conservation Scheme should remove the green label and refer to them as hybrids.

In the Iris Database Iris 'Banbury Gem' is described as 'showy',having medium ruby standards with ruby red falls. It was one of the irises registered by Marjorie Brummitt in 1972.

Compare this image

with the plant we have been growing

Iris 'Deepening Shadows', registered in 1984, should have dark purple standards with dark purple falls and a black sheen.

Like this….

not this!

Whilst this is disappointing, the process of researching our plants often leads to unexpected discoveries as Helen Mount found when she tried to discover the true identity of the Helianthus in the Scheme (see her articles in The Hardy Plant: Vol 36 Spring and Autumn 2015).

However, we have chosen two new plants for the Scheme this year.They are Persicaria runcinata Needham's form, a small semi-evergreen plant with red stems that carry spherical clusters of tiny, bell-shaped pink flowers

and Vinca minor 'Mrs Betty James', which has an unusual large double violet-blue flower and like all vincas grows well even in dry shade.

Plants have been taken by several of the Local Groups represented at the meeting and will be evaluated over the next 2 or 3 years.

Jan Vaughan

Jan Vaughan Posted by Jan Vaughan

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