Hebe News – Article 2
DOUGLAS CHALK HEBE COLLECTION
Readers of Hebe News will be familiar with the story of the rescue of material from the original Douglas Chalk Collection based in Cornwall and its propagation by Gordon Smith and Steve Harding with the intention of growing-on at a new site.
A number of the plants propagated and grown on by Steve Harding were transferred to Plumpton College in East Sussex in 2009, where they were overwintered under glass and then planted out onto a permanent site in April 2010. The majority have grown on well (although a few of the less hardy have struggled a bit and will now be grown on in a polytunnel).
As National Plant Co-ordinators for Sussex for Plant Heritage, we carried out a formal assessment of the collection last autumn, and an application for National Collection status was submitted to the February meeting of its Plant Conservation Committee (PCC). We are very pleased to report that the application was well received by the PCC and it was granted Full National Collection status. It thus joins the other two National Collections of Hebe, held by Martin Seale in Guernsey and Nigel Hutchinson in Yorkshire. The committee were particularly impressed by the fact that no less than 33 of the cultivars have been formally assessed as endangered in cultivation by its Threatened Plants project.
Congratulations are due to Gordon, Steve and the other members of the Hebe Society whose foresight ensured this valuable collection was rescued before it was completely lost, and to Gary Jones and staff and students at Plumpton who have ensured that the Douglas Chalk Collection is now saved and growing on at the very site where Douglas started his horticultural career.
Plumpton College will be holding its Open Day on Saturday 11th May from 10–5 pm, subject to the weather (it was rained off last year). There will be lots to see and do, including, we would image, the opportunity to see the collection. For up-to-date information on this event see www.plumpton.ac.uk. For more on Plant Heritage and its National Collections see www.nccpg.com.
Gary and Maria Firth
Registered Charity No 801398