The Gardens hold 14 NPCs including one of mixed genera that are plants raised by Hillier Nurseries. The journey for these plants began 150 years ago as a Collection by Hillier Nurseries existed before the Garden which now houses it. The Gardens hold 189 Hillier raised plants and larger Collections of other genera. Around 40% of the Hillier (plants raised by) Collection has been lost due to changing plant fashions. The Sir Harold Hillier Gardens currently holds 95% of the remaining Hillier plants.
National Collection status was granted in 1995 and the Collection is always increasing. Alan Postill is one of Hillier Nurseries most prolific plant breeders and has introduced many new cultivars. He continues to add more plants each year to the Hillier portfolio. He is best known for Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’, Salix ‘Mark Postill’ and one of his newest introductions, Cotinus ‘Candy Floss’.
Historically there is a link between the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens and Hillier Nurseries, although the Gardens are a charitable trust with Hampshire County Council as sole trustee and the Nurseries are still a private company with the Hillier family at its heart. The Gardens have made good connections with other Garden sites around the UK in attempts to find some of the missing plants.
Carpinus and Cornus Collections
The Carpinus Collection is held at the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens; currently growing 18 of the 30 known species and are continually looking to increase their Collection but they are restricted by growing conditions. The Collection started through collecting in the late 1970s and early 1980s. National Plant Collection® status was given to the Gardens for their Carpinus Collection in 1982.
The Cornus National Plant Collection is also held at the Gardens and currently includes 46 of the 60 known species. This Collection was developed during the same time period as the Carpinus, however, NPC status was awarded in 1986.
Part of the Carpinus Collection
Carpinus betulus ‘A. Beeckman’
Carpinus betulus ‘Columnaris’
Carpinus betulus ‘Columnaris Nana’
Carpinus betulus ‘Dams’
Carpinus betulus ‘Fastigiata’
Carpinus betulus ‘Fielders Healer’
Carpinus betulus ‘Frans Fontaine’
Carpinus betulus ‘Incisa’
Carpinus betulus ‘Lucas’
Carpinus betulus ‘Pendula’
Carpinus betulus ‘Pendula Dervaesii’
Carpinus betulus ‘Pinocchio’
Carpinus betulus ‘Purpurea’
Carpinus betulus ‘Quercifolia’
Carpinus betulus ‘Streetwise’
Carpinus betulus ‘Variegata’
Carpinus caroliniana ‘Pyramidalis’
Carpinus coreana var. major
Carpinus henryana var. simplicidentata
Carpinus laxiflora var. macrostachya
Carpinus x schuschaensis
A total number of 360 Cornus are currently held at the Gardens:
Cornus alba Baton Rouge = ‘Minbat’ (BPR)
Cornus alba Ivory Halo = ‘Bailhalo’ (BPR)
Cornus alba Red Gnome = ‘Regnzam’
Cornus alba ‘Aurea’
Cornus alba ‘Bloodgood’
Cornus alba ‘Elegantissima’ AGM
Cornus alba ‘Gouchautic’
Cornus alba ‘Hessei’
Cornus alba ‘Kesselringii’
Cornus alba ‘Ruby’
Cornus alba ‘Siberian Pearls’
Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’
This Collection currently consists of 14 species of Corylus and a high percentage of cultivars. Collecting started in the late 1970s early 1980s, pre-dating the founding of Plant Heritage in 1978. This Collection was awarded NPC status in 1983.
Part of the Corylus Collection
There are currently 156 Corylus taxa within this collection:
Corylus ‘Anglicky Zellsky’
Corylus avellana ‘Anny’s Red Dwarf’
Corylus avellana ‘Aurea’
Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’ AGM
Corylus avellana ‘Heterophylla’
Corylus avellana ‘Pearson’s Prolific’
Corylus avellana ‘Pendula’
The Quercus Collection is held by Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in Hampshire; currently growing 264 of the 600 known species and most cultivars.
The collection started in the late 1970s to early 1980s. The Gardens have good links with the other National Plant Collection of Quercus at Chevithorne Barton, with Allen Coombes at the University of Puebla, Mexico and with the International Oak Society, some members of which have personally added to the Collection or assisted in its development. They have had donations of plants for their other Collections too and have a good relationship with the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
They are looking to expand the Collection but are restricted by growing conditions. For example, there are many species of Quercus that come from hot arid regions of the World such as Mexico or the sub-tropical forests of southern China. These species can only be grown with winter protection and the Gardens do not have a glass house.
Part of the Quercus Collection
There are a total of 953 Quercus taxa currently within the collection:
Quercus acutifolia x mexicana
Quercus alba ‘Elongata’
Quercus alba ‘Lincoln’
Quercus aliena var. acutiserrata
Quercus aliena var. pekingensis
Quercus aliena x Q. dentata subsp. Yunnanensis
David Jewell is the Curator of Living Collections at The Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in Hampshire, where 8-10% of the 500 species of Hypericum worldwide are currently held. There are no current plans for expansion. David has worked alongside Dr Norman Robson in the development of this Collection; granted NPC status in 2014. Through developing an increased knowledge of the genus, David noticed that a species grown at the Gardens was incorrectly named. He also began collecting new additions and tried to accurately verify the names of others across the site.
Hilliers' (Plant Raised by) Collection
A plant list highlighting some of our display from the Hilliers’ (Plants Raised by) Collection:
Ceanothus ‘Blue Mound’
Choisya x dewitteana ‘Aztec Gold’ (PBR)
Choisya x dewitteana ‘Aztec Pearl’
Cistus x argenteus ‘Silver Pink’
Cornus controversa ‘Variegata’
Cornus florida ‘Cherokee Chief’
Comus kousa var. chinensis
Nyssa sylvatica ‘Pendula’
Photinia x fraseri Pink Marble = ‘Cassini’
Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’
Sambucus nigra f. porphyrophylla
Leucothoe fontanesiana ‘Rainbow’
Leucothoe walteri ‘Rainbow’
Indigofera himalayensis ‘Silk Road’
Rare and important species in Collections held at The Sir Harold Hillier Gardens include: Carpinus fangiana, Carpinus x schuschaensis, Cornus oblonga, Cornus excelsa, Corylus fargesii, Corylus sieboldiana, Quercus furfuracea and Quercus baloot.