In advance of the Chelsea Flower Show (24 – 28 May), we have teamed up with the UK’s leading cultivated plant conservation charity, Plant Heritage (www.plantheritage.com), to release a new list of sought-after plants that are examples of the UK’s plant-breeding heritage, but now believed to be on the cusp of extinction. Plant Heritage is calling upon the public to search their gardens and upload details of new sightings in a bid to raise awareness of the need for cultivated plant conservation.
Plant Heritage compiled the list, in consultation with its nationwide network of dedicated horticulturalists, plantsmen, and collectors. The list includes the Crocus chrysanthus ‘E.A. Bowles’, named after the legendary British plant hunter and horticulturalist; several highly-regarded Scottish-bred lilies; and the Fuchsia ‘Duke of Albany’, dedicated to the remarkable Prince Leopold, youngest son of Queen Victoria, who died tragically young.
All discoveries, once verified by Plant Heritage, will contribute to the preservation and understanding of some of Britain’s most treasured cultivated plants.
To report a sighting of a plant on the list, or for more information about the plants, please contact:
The twelve garden plants are:
Crocus chrysanthus ‘E.A. Bowles’. Named after legendary plantsman Edward Augustus Bowles, this golden crocus variety has seemingly disappeared from cultivation, much to the dismay of those who cherish the memory of the great horticulturalist. The last recorded possession of ‘E.A. Bowles’ was in 1984, but the plant has since disappeared from the trade, and apparently from gardens too.
Four varieties of Mylnefield Lily: ‘Adonis’, ‘Eureka’, ‘Invergowrie’, ‘Pandora North’. Mylnefield Lilies were bred in the mid-20th century by Scottish plantsman Christopher North, head of the Scottish Horticultural Research Institute, and are a renowned part of Scottish horticultural heritage. Despite Dr. North’s former garden having been thoroughly searched for them, four different Mylnefields are feared to be lost from cultivation. ‘Invergowrie’, of which no pictures or drawings are known to exist, is described in the International Register as being 'purplish pink’ and strongly recurved.
Pictures below in order:
Mylnefield lily, 'Adonis'
Mylnefield lily, 'Eureka'
Mylnefield lily, 'Pandora North'
Three varieties of Cedric Morris Iris: The ‘Benton Rubeo’, ‘Benton Oberon’, ‘Benton Ophelia’. Cedric Morris, an artist and horticulturalist, bred and named 90 irises in the mid-20th century. Less than half are known to survive within National Plant Collections and some may still grow in gardens around the country. Three in particular are sought. ‘Benton Oberon’ is pictured here. ‘Benton Rubeo’ (named after Morris’ pet macaw) is described as “A fine red plicata; standards strawberry roan on a cream ground, falls pale ivory (or primrose) edged with red-purple.” Benton Ophelia is only known to be pink.
Four varieties of Fuchsia; Fuchsia ‘Duke of Albany’, ‘James Welch’, ‘Mr Hooper Taylor’, ‘Mrs Hooper Taylor’. All four of these Fuchsia cultivars have been lost from cultivation for a long time – some for many decades. A drawing from the 19th century shows ‘Mr Hooper Taylor’ and ‘Mrs Hooper Taylor’ fuchsias. The ‘Duke of Albany’ fuchsia (dedicated to Queen Victoria’s youngest son, Prince Leopold), is described as having a red tube and sepal, and a rich purplish-red corolla. The ‘James Welch’ commemorates one half of romantic pairing, with the Annie Earle fuchsia, and is a single red and purple fuchsia: “Its tube is Bright Rosy Red, its sepals are bright rosy red and reflexed while the corolla is pale maroon shaded bright purple”.
Sarah Quarterman, Plant Heritage’s CEO, comments: “We are grateful to Furniture Village for their support in publicising our campaign to find examples of endangered plants which represent the plant breeding heritage of the UK and Ireland. Plant Heritage seeks to conserve the diversity of our cultivated plants and through this campaign we hope to raise awareness of the need for cultivated plant conservation with the gardeners of Britain. Once a plant is gone, sadly it is gone forever.”
Charlie Harrison, Furniture Village’s Director of Marketing, comments: “With the present growing concern, both nationally and worldwide, over environmental and ecological loss, this initiative is particularly significant. Plant Heritage is the pre-eminent charity in the conservation of British cultivated flora, and we at Furniture Village are proud to be working with them to bring to the public’s attention these flowers, which are not only part of our joint national heritage, but bring joy and pleasure to Britons everywhere. If we don’t find these flowers now, they might be lost to us forever.”
To compliment your garden flowers this summer, our expert designers recommend the following:
“With all the buzz around garden flora ahead of the Chelsea Flower Show, and with our hunt for the lost plants of British horticultural heritage, now is the perfect time to get inspired to improve your garden for the summer months. Our new range of garden furniture includes relaxation pieces and wood and rattan outdoor dining solutions to suit all price-points, as well as special designs from our partner, luxury brand Alexander Rose, to let you enjoy your garden and its flowers in comfort and style."
About Plant Heritage
For more information or to email details of new sightings, please contactCollections@plantheritage.org.uk
Plant Heritage (www.plantheritage.com) is the leading cultivated plant conservation charity, which works with members and local groups, to safeguard the rich diversity of cultivated plants. The National Lottery Heritage-funded organisation runs nationwide schemes such as the National Plant Collections, Plant Guardians, and the Threatened Plants Project, all set up to help secure the future of the UK’s garden plants. Its patron is HRH The Prince of Wales, and its President is Alan Titchmarsh. Plant Heritage’s contribution to British conservation is to be celebrated with the Sparsholt College at theRHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016 (24th-28th May).
Plant Heritage provides the national accreditation scheme for the National Plant Collections, over 600 nationwide comprehensive documented, developed and conserved collections of plants. These are a key resource for research into taxonomic and cultural history of plants, and are also open to the public at least once a year. This year, for the first time, the Plant Heritage Marquee will be merging with the Floral Marquee at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 5 – 10 July 2016, bringing together in one place the displays from the charity’s Collection Holders.
Plant Heritage’s Threatened Plants Project actively researches and identifies such potentially-threatened cultivated plants, peer-reviews their importance from the point of view of horticultural, heritage and scientific angles, and seeks them out to conserve them.
Nationally, Plant Heritage coordinates displays illustrating the National Collections and the need for cultivated plant conservation at a range of Horticultural Shows such as RHS Chelsea, RHS Hampton Court, Harrogate Flower Show, and many others.
A membership charity, it is funded by membership subscriptions, donations, grants and supporter fundraising initiatives. Members of the public can join Plant Heritage for £30 a year which will help to secure the future of Britain’s garden plants.