Sparsholt College has partnered with Plant Heritage (formerly known as the NCCPG), the world’s leading cultivated plant conservation and membership charity to tell the story of The People’s Plants for the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2016. The garden will highlight the important work of the charity Plant Heritage, including their Plant Guardian Scheme, National Plant Collection® scheme and Threatened Plants Project and how people across the UK can become actively involved in conservation of cultivated plants from their own back garden, greenhouse, allotment or windowsill.
A team of fifteen Horticulture students designed and created the garden which will feature a display divided into three main parts representing the past: the cultural heritage of cultivated plants, present: current National Plant Collections and future: potential new National Plant Collections and current Threatened Plants. Visitors to the world-famous flower show will see the exhibit in RHS Discovery, which aims to educate visitors as well as demonstrating high standards of plantmanship. Horticulture expert Chris Bird who is leading the student team said: “Exhibiting at RHS Chelsea is a thrill for any gardener, famous or otherwise. For our students it is an incredible experience which requires them to draw on their outstanding skills and knowledge. Our purpose at Sparsholt is to train the next generation of horticulturists and what greater start to their careers then having their work showcased on an international platform. Working with Plant Heritage enables us to tell the important story of the People’s Plants and how anyone with a passion for plants can also play their part in important conservation work.”
With Plant Heritage as the partner, the People’s Plants ‘past’ highlights groups of plants that have been traditionally collected such as Rosa, Hosta and Salvia. The current work of Plant Heritage and its members is the focus for the ‘present’, with National Collections from Hampshire sites providing a snapshot of this national organisation, their Threatened Plants Project and Plant Guardian Scheme. Finally for the ‘future’ the college garden will highlight potential new Collections including the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Apples and the most wanted genera, not currently in Collections.
“Plant Heritage CEO, Sarah Quarterman said: “We are delighted to be partnering with and supporting the next generation of horticulturists from Sparsholt College with their garden at this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
“As a charity, we work with our members to safeguard the rich diversity of cultivated plants across the UK, through our different projects such as the Plant Guardian Scheme, National Plant Collection scheme and Threatened Plants Projects.
“The People’s Plants promises to be a great representation of the breadth of our work and a showcase of the range of plants held in our schemes. Above all it will be a spectacular and innovative display of plants designed by the next generation of horticultural experts. We urge everyone attending RHS Chelsea Flower Show to make sure they visit this garden as a priority!”
Sparsholt College Hampshire has a long history of Chelsea medal success achieving seven Gold medals, three Silver-gilt medals, four Silver medals and three Bronze medals since 1998.
A number of horticulture courses are offered at Sparsholt College, from Apprenticeship through to the BSc (Hons) Horticulture with Plantmanship and Design (Top-up) launching September 2017. A leisure programme also provides ample opportunity for those looking to try their hand at a new skill or develop a long-held interest.
For further information go to sparsholt.ac.uk or telephone 01962 776441.
For more information on the charity, to donate or to become a member, please visit www.plantheritage.com or call 01483 447540.