We've started this year's seed distribution scheme as usual.  Please send us your seeds as soon as they are ready.

Featured Conservation Plants: May 2014

May 2014:
Veronica ornata

This is a recent introduction to the Conservation Scheme and is on the ‘provisional list’ at present in order that its suitability can be assessed. It was originally obtained via the Hampshire group of the HPS who got it from Cotswold Cottage Garden Plants, having been a gift to the owner. It has been grown successfully on the Isle of Wight by different HPS members since 2007.

According to its source this Veronica originates from Japan and is a hardy perennial described as a ‘shrubette’ with an upright habit, reaching around 30cm in height and 40 cm spread depending on soil conditions. It has silver-grey, lanceolate leaves providing a perfect background for the spikes of deep violet-blue flowers which appear in autumn and are an uncommon colour combination for that time of year.

In terms of soil types Veronica ornata does not appear fussy as it grows well on chalk and neutral to acid soil types on the Isle of Wight but it does need reasonable drainage and performs best in a sunny spot. It also needs a period of cool temperatures to initiate flowering which is probably why it flowers quite late (into October and November) in the south of England.

Propagation has been successful using either tip or semi-ripe cuttings and, if the plant appears untidy in the spring, it can be cut back to encourage new, more compact growth. It is currently being trialled by HPS members in Cambridge and Beds.,North West, South Pennine, the Midlands as well as the Isle of Wight.

The Conservation scheme involves HPS members in growing these plants and documenting the best way to grow and propagate them. The plants are distributed across the country with many local groups and individual growers being involved.

The scheme is open to all HPS members. More information about the scheme can be found here.

Since the present scheme started in 1998, we have been successful in conserving over 30 plant varieties that are, in our opinion, all worthy of being grown in British gardens. However, there are still a large number of potentially garden worthy plants in need of conservation.

If you are a interested in making this (or any other of our conservation plants) available on a commercial basis, please contact the National Coordinator.

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