Conserving Australasian plants; how we can have a real impact.
During our special general meeting on 15th November 2014 it was decided that we, as a society, needed a clear guide as to what we wanted to achieve. A mission for the society was created which would drive everything the society does into the future. We became
The Australasian Plant Society
- for promoting the cultivation and conservation of Australasian plants and their closest relatives in the northern hemisphere
The cultivation aspect of this is comparatively easy to achieve as we all love growing amazing plants from Australia and New Zealand but the conservation aspect is a little trickier. We have decided to take a two-pronged approach
1 – Protecting Australasia’s cultivated plant varieties
Australasian plants form an important part of the world’s garden flora. They extend the season of interest in gardens right through the winter and provide much needed food for pollinators during difficult times. They are unique, they challenge us and they give us a taste of the exotic. Yet, this exact set of attributes puts these antipodean gems at risk in cultivation outside of their native lands.
Many have been grown in Europe for over 200 years yet are considered tender and difficult, a label which is often unwarranted.
To help us combat the loss of cultivated varieties of Australia and New Zealand’s plants we have joined forces with Plant Heritage (The world’s leading cultivated plant conservation charity) to help stop the loss of these cultivars and varieties from our gardens. Several members of the APS hold National plant collections and go a long way to keeping these plants in cultivation and we are also now able to go a step further through the Plant Heritage Plant Guardians scheme. If you grow an Australasian plant that you know to be rare in cultivation (a good guide is if it is listed by two or fewer nurseries in the RHS plant finder) you could register as a Plant Guardian. You don’t have to be a member of Plant Heritage to do so as you can do it directly through your membership of the APS.
By conserving plants this way we can help the world meet important international targets through the Aichi Biodiversity agreement (part of the Convention on Biological Diversity) Target 13 – By 2020, the genetic diversity of cultivated plants and farmed and domesticated animals and of [their] wild relatives, including other socio-economically as well as culturally valuable species, is maintained, and strategies have been developed and implemented for minimizing genetic erosion and safeguarding their genetic diversity.
If you would like to know more about the Plant Guardians scheme or would like to conserve a threatened plant through it, contact our chairman by email at email@example.com
2 – Conserving Australasia’s Threatened Plant Species
Australia has over 20,000 species of vascular plants and New Zealand has a further 2,500 (most of which are endemic). It is an unfortunate fact that many of these species are severely threatened with extinction. In 2002 the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation (GSPC) was adopted by the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity. It was a bold step for the conservation of the world’s plants
Part of the GSPC is concerned with the conservation of plants through cultivation and this goal was laid out in Target 8 of the strategy. – At least 75 per cent of threatened plant species in ex situ collections and at least 20 per cent available for recovery and restoration programmes.
Through an agreement with BGCI (Botanic Gardens Conservation International) we are now able to make the plants our members are growing in their gardens count toward this target. BGCI is the world’s largest plant conservation network and it is through its Plant Search database that the GSPC Target 8 is assessed.
We are now able to upload information to the database enabling us to make sure the plants conserved in members gardens really count for conservation internationally. If you have a collection of Australasian plants that you would like to count towards worldwide conservation targets, then please complete a copy of the Excel spreadsheet below, save this file in .CSV format (File>SaveAs>CSV (Comma delimited), and return it to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any questions or queries about this initiative, please drop our chairman a line at the same email address.
Access the spreadsheet and plant upload instructions by clicking on the picture below
N.B. BGCI is an independent organisation and is governed by the Data Protection Act. Any information passed to them will be anonymous and only the details of the species held by APS members will be shared.
With over 400,000 known plant species, and such vast diversity in Australasia, the challenge of conserving plant diversity is too big a job for just a few people. It is with your help that we, as a society, can really step up to this challenge and make a difference for the plants we all grow and love.
- There were once over 200 cultivars of Epacris impressa in British cultivation but now its not available at all.
LOWER KENNEGGY NURSERIES
phone 01736 762 959
Rosudgeon, Penzance, Cornwall TR20 9AR
We grow a wide range of plants that thrive in the mild, wet, windy conditions typical of seaside areas. From hedging and shelter plants to the exotic and unusual we offer plants that are tough enough to make the amateurs’ garden to unusual enough to add something special for those that really know their plants. Among the many Australasian plants that we grow we stock a particularly wide range of Grevillea.
phone 01506 858 931
Binny Estate, Ecclesmachan, West Lothian, EH52 6NL
We specialise in new and unusual perennials, ferns, trees and grasses that will provide your home and garden with a welcoming all-natural appearance. Whether you’re looking for traditional British plants or something a little more exotic, our grass and tree nursery will provide the perfect plants every time. When our produce makes our customers happy, this makes us very happy.
THE LOST WORLD NURSERY
phone 07810 547 629
Marsh Road, Hesketh Bank, near Preston, Lancs, PR4 6XT
Established in 2005, The Lost World Nursery specialises in exotic plants for the adventurous gardener and provides an eclectic assortment of rare and exotic plants for the betterment of both garden and greenhouse. We are located between Preston and Southport in West Lancashire and sell from the nursery, at plant fairs, and via mail order throughout the European Union.
phone 07810 660 109
We are a small family run nursery in the heart of Sussex, growing quality plants. We aim to grow the usual and the unusual, with an emphasis on Australian and New Zealand shrubs. We sell by mail order and exhibit at RHS events, Garden shows and County shows around the country, where plants can be pre-ordered for collection. Take a look at our webpage for our events diary.
James and Katie Treseder
phone 01208 832 234
Wallcottage Nursery, Lockengate, St. Austell, Cornwall, PL26 8RU
We stock a wide range of trees, shrubs and herbaceous perennials, many unusual and exotic, and including lots of Australasian species. Our speciality is mint bushes (Prostanthera). We grow all our plants ourselves, using peat free compost, bio friendly insecticides, no growth regulators and locally sourced material where possible.
phone 01509 672 056/ 07950 757 444
Whatton House Gardens, Long Whatton, Loughborough, Leicestershire LE12 5BG
Since the nursery opened, the range of hardy herbaceous perennials on offer has increased dramatically, and continues to do so. Check our database; it lists most of them and we aim to update it at regular intervals. Many of our perennials are unusual, although we also offer traditional cottage garden plants, and most are not difficult to grow. In addition, a small selection of half-hardy and tender plants is normally available as well as various flowering bulbs and, occasionally, a few annuals. Visitors are welcome to browse without commitment to buy, and to ask for care and planting advice.
GRAFTON NURSERY (KANGAROOTS)
Hilary and Stephen Collins
phone 07515 261 511
Worcester Road, Grafton Flyford, Worcestershire WR7 4PW
We are a small family run nursery, growing ferns and hedging box and specialising in eucalypts under the name Kangaroots Trees. All our seed is sourced in cold high altitude locations in south east Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand. We probably grow the largest selection of Eucalyptus in the UK.
COUNTY PARK NURSERY
phone 07925 906 866
County Park Nursery was started by Graham and Margaret Hutchins in 1955, and specialised New Zealand, Australian and Tasmanian plants, retaining some of the more unusual plants from other areas of the world. After Graham died Paul took over his grandfather’s nursery and is in the process of moving it to Hampshire. Check the website for news of his progress; it will be updated in 2016.
phone 01892 785 599
Sleepers Stile Road, Cousley Wood, Wadhurst, East Sussex TN5 6QX
Our nursery is situated in 3 acres of beautiful Sussex countryside where we grow tropical plants, southern hemisphere plants and hardy plants, including lots of rare and exotic species. We grow every single plant on site and the goal is to have as many species as possible growing outside all year round. We are always adding new species and trying to breed hardiness and robustness into any borderline plants. We try to make our plants tough first and pretty second. We are self taught and take the view that plants don’t read books, so we try not to.
President: Tom Hart-Dyke
Chairman: Robert Blackhall-Miles
Treasurer: Jeremy Spon
Editor: Judy Clark
Seeds: Janet Miller
Events: Gary & Maria Firth
Webmaster: Ben Ram