UK National Collections
According to Plant Heritage, formerly known as the Council for the Conservation of Plants & Gardens, there are around 650 National Collections in private and public gardens in the UK. Many of these conservation collections are located in Scotland. National Collections consist of plants that people, from professional gardeners to amateurs, have nurtured and choose to grow in abundance. Many of these people have dedicated themselves to raising these plants for years and have become authorities in their field.
The National Collections gardens started when a conference noted that the variety of cultivated plants available to gardeners was shrinking. Conservation of plants was needed, before they disappeared. People across the UK responded, and now many National Collections are open for public viewing.
New people interested in starting their own collection are welcome. They can visit public National Collections to get an idea of what they might like to plant in their gardens, or contact the office to find out what plants need conservation. Prospective members and interested parties can visit the Plant Heritage website for more information about National Collections.
Nicole Savage of Plant Heritage explains some requirements for gardens to become national collections, to The Scotsman. A garden must contain 75 per cent of the plants available for the “scope” of the collection. There must be three of each plant, labeled and all kept for one year. Finally gardeners must keep records of their plants. If gardeners need more help, Plant Heritage offers its members opportunities to attend lectures or to visit gardens and see rare and unusual plants. They aim to help people in conserving plants that in many cases are rare or threatened with extinction. Plant Heritage aims to teach people the importance of these plants since many of them can be used as medicines or as organic pesticides for other plants. In short, they are valuable for both humans and other plants.