Conservation News

Update February 2014

Written by Chris Davies. Posted in Conservation

The last time any conservation info was put onto our website was around 2008, so we thought it was time that that was removed!

Over the last few years, there has been a lot of debate at our annual National Group co-ordinators' meetings (where representatives from conservation groups across the country get together). Now we have a new list of criteria for initial entry into the scheme, a shorter plant list and a more efficient way of recording data collected from growers (see national website for more details).

At the moment, our group has 16 of the plants from the national list (although we expect this to be less once all the grower form data is returned – please!) We also have some plants being grown just within our group eg. John's Olympic Torch – these will possibly be introduced into the national scheme once we know if they are worthy!

We feel strongly that within our group, it is realistic to focus on a smaller number of plants, with more people growing them. At the moment, there are quite a few plants that have only one grower – we need to get propagating, if possible, so that we have a cross-section from across our region. We cover a large area and conditions do vary within our group, for instance, we have quite a few people who have had Heuchera David – some of the plants are still thriving, some are on borrowed time and some – like my two – died as soon as I (Sue) looked at them! It is good to get an idea of how the plants grow within our group, before they are taken to the national meeting for distribution further afield.

At the annual meeting of co-ordinators, surplus propagated plants are brought from across the country and spread amongst other Groups for growing on in other localities, to provide information, via our annual growers reports, to feed into the National results. It can then be decided if they need to continue to be propagated by HPS growers, or directed either to nurserymen or National Collection Holders for further propagation. We would expect to see good plants become widely available and difficult plants to stay with Collection Holders for completeness and as genetic source material.

The annual meeting is the source of most of the new introductions to our Group.

The other source is from plants that are introduced within the group. These plants must meet the criteria for inclusion, and each will attract a 'birth certificate' so that the source and provenance for each plant can be verified whenever necessary and its true identity confirmed.

An up to date list of active plants within our group will be posted on our website once all the completed forms have been returned from all of our growers (hint, hint!)

Thanks to all our Norfolk and Suffolk growers for their patience during this period, and for completing the forms which will tidy up the back-log of records, so that we can start again according to the new and hopefully, rational criteria.

Chris and Sue

Feb 2014

To begin with we thought it was just us that found the system and list of plants somewhat baffling, but, having raised this at the second annual meeting that we attended, we found that other co-ordinators had similar thoughts, and the newly appointed National Co-ordinator, Helen Mounts, agreed to look into the criteria and the relevance of the plant list.

This took a further two years to agree, via the National HPS Committee, and rationalise, until in the Summer of 2013 a new list of criteria was published and the plant list was reduced to those that met these criteria.(See National Website). These are plants in very short supply, (except newly introduced plants, which would be in short supply by definition).

There are still minor local difficulties to be settled.

Norfolk and Suffolk are growing a small proportion of the plants on the National list.. We feel strongly that it is more realistic to focus on a smaller number of plants, then look at the results in our Group over the four year growing/propagation period, by which time we should know whether or not they suit local conditions. We would then recommend that they be discontinued in our Group- either if they don't grow well enough here, or so well that we are sick of the sight of them. Our results will feed into the National HPS results, so the co-ordinators at the annual meeting will then decide if they need to continue to be propagated by HPS growers, or directed either to nurserymen or National Collection Holders for further propagation.

The long term aim is to provide published statistics on optimum growing conditions for the plants passing through the Conservation system

We would expect to see good plants become widely available and difficult plants to stay with Collection Holders for completeness, and as genetic source material.

At the annual meeting of co-ordinators surplus propagated plants are brought for distribution among other Groups for growing on in other localities, to provide information, via our annual growers reports, to feed into the National results. The annual meeting is the source of most of the new introductions to our Group.

The other source is from plants that are introduced within the group. These plants must meet the criteria for inclusion, and each will attract a 'birth certificate' so that the source and provenance for each plant can be verified whenever necessary and its true identity confirmed.

There is a lot more information on the National Website, including liaison with other bodies.

An up to date list of active plants within our group will be posted on our website once all the completed forms have been returned from all of our growers (hint, hint!)

Thanks to all our Norfolk and Suffolk growers for their patience during this period, and for completing the forms which will tidy up the back-log of records, so that we can start again according to the new and hopefully, rational criteria.

Chris Davies

Feb 2014