Plant Heritage is a charity focused on the conservation of cultivated plants in the UK. Much wild flora is protected, but precious genetic material can be lost if cultivated plants are ignored. Plant Heritage encourages the public to be involved in this vital work by becoming National Collection Holders or Plant Guardians.
There are around 600 National Plant Collections in the UK and Collection holders identify, document and conserve plants from a specific group, which can be cared for anywhere from private gardens to allotments and botanic gardens to historical estates.
The Threatened Plants Project identifies worthy plants with a high risk of extinction to become part of the National Plant Collection or Plant Guardian Scheme.
The People’s Plants explores the collection, identification and preservation of cultivated plants with separate sections in the garden representing the past, the present and the future. The garden is a showcase for Plant Heritage’s National Plant Collections®.
Before the establishment of Plant Heritage, enthusiasts would collect plants they loved and create collections in a random fashion. Plant Heritage, founded in 1978, formalised these collections so that historically cultivated plants did not get lost with changing fashions.
Anyone can be involved in plant collecting, identification and preservation. With the support of Plant Heritage, many individuals, organisations and schools are taking on the responsibility for caring for and nurturing either a specific cultivated plant as a Plant Guardian or a genus or section of genus as a Collection Holder.
Collection Holders collect and conserve the widest possible range of plants in private gardens, allotments, nurseries, local parks, botanic gardens and historic estates. By seeking out these plants – many no longer commercially available – propagating them, researching their history and properties and making this knowledge publicly available.
Collection Holders are custodians of biodiversity.
This garden aims to encourage everyone to take responsibility for preserving garden plants.