Dear member

Welcome to the IGPS e-bulletin, January 2022 and a Happy New Year.

So, without delay and thanks to the Leinster Committee, we will be starting the IGPS calendar of events, straight away with a zoom talk by;
Adam Whitbourn Tuesday 11th January 2022. @8pm
“Exploring Northern Vietnam and the Blarney Vietnamese woodland.”
Adam Whitbourn, head gardener at Blarney Castle Gardens is no stranger to IGPS members having lectured in person to Glasnevin, Munster and Northern groups previously.
He has been on ‘plant hunting’ expeditions to Northern Vietnam 4 times in the past 10 years the last in 2019. Working with Vietnamese authorities and botanists to fully comply with Nagoya protocols, they collect seeds, preserve pressed specimens and record plants in the area. Because they collect mainly high in the mountains the plants are generally hardy in Irish conditions.
There is a huge diversity of plants in these mountains, many of which are endangered.  Aesculus wangii produces impressively large ‘conkers’ and is now growing happily in Blarney alongside Shefflera macrophylla, Shefflera frangipanensis, Rubus lineatus and many other species including Acer, Oak and Magnolia.
The Vietnamese woodland in Blarney is an ex-situ conservation project developed from the wild collected seed. Clear felling for agriculture – Cardamom farming, is the cause of much of the plant losses in the area and the Blarney Castle project includes a replica of a farmer’s hut.
Blarney Castle Gardens also hosts an ‘Irish Heritage Plants’ collection.

Cardomom Farmer’s Hut in Blarney
“I will be covering the locations in Vietnam, why we chose to go there, and images from the trips, followed by a look at propagation back in Blarney and the development of the Vietnamese Woodland area. It’s exciting to see it moving forward and I’m hoping some members will travel down for a visit soon.”
Adam Whitbourn
Blarney Castle Gardens
Details and links to the zoom talk by Adam will be issued to members before hand via email.

The IGPS newsletter should arrive through your letter box within the next week. Included with January’s Newsletter is a Seed List and Order Form from our seed distribution organiser, Debbie Bailey. Debbie will accept orders up to 1st April but, if possible, do please get your order in early and remember to include TWO stamps – either UK or ROI.Also with the Newsletter is a membership leaflet.  Keeping our membership numbers up helps the Society to keep down costs, so do please pass this on to a friend.

The IGPS newsletter should arrive with all members shortly, if it has not already.

In the mean time, you may find the following extracts from the “Plant Heritage” newsletter of interest. There are several talks and workshops listed. For further details please visit;

Plant Heritage Newsletter, Dec 2021
Seasons greeting to all our members.  Thank you to you all for your support in helping us save garden plants for today and tomorrow. We hope you have been able to enjoy plants and gardens in the recent months.
In this newsletter we welcome new National Plant Collections, highlight upcoming events,  look at plant research and feature a new rare plant of the month.

New National Plant Collections
Congratulations and welcome to the holders of the 11 new National Plant Collections, accredited recently by the Plant Collections Committee.

Cheiridopsis spp., Reference, Nick Pengelly, Wrexham
Dresslerella spp., Reference, A. Koper, Essex
Geranium phaeum cvs. & primary hybrids, Horticultural, Anthony Nichols, Leicestershire
Hemerocallis cvs. (bred by RH Coe, LW Brummitt & HJ Randall), Historical, Caro Skyrme, Shropshire
Hypericum sect. Androsaemum & Ascyreia spp., Reference, Simon Goldsack, Dorset
Lepanthes spp., Reference, A. Koper, Essex
Malus domestica (Devon heritage apples), Historical, RHS Rosemoor, Devon
Pelagonium (Angel, Decorative, Regal, Dwarf Regal), Horticultural, RHS Bridgewater, Gt Manchester
Pelargonium (Scented-leaved and variegated Zonal), Horticultural, RHS Rosemoor, Devon
Pelargonium (Irene-Zonal American, Ivy Leafed & Unique), Horticultural, RHS Hyde Hall, Essex
Pelargonium (spp. & hybrids, Stellar, Miniature Stellar, Dwarf Zonal, Zonartic), Horticultural, RHS Wisley, Surrey
Extra congratulations also to the holders of two new scientific collections, awarded in recognition of the phenomenal amount of research done by these collection holders

Scadoxus, Scientific, Reference, Jonathan Hutchinson, Devon
Narcissus (Backhouse cvs.) Scientific, Historic, Caroline Thompson, Fife

Images: Scadoxus puniceus © J Hutchinson and Narcissus from the Backhouse collection © Caroline Thomson
Caroline Thomson, descendant of the Backhouse family, researches the history of breeding and future medicinal uses for these cultivars.  The science in the Backhouse’s daffodil breeding is still relevant today in the work of contemporary daffodil hybridisers
Through her research, Caroline created a new Heritage and Education centre, which includes displays of Backhouse Herbarium specimens 1800’s – early 1900’s on loan from RBG Edinburgh Herbarium. She worked on an inspirational Narcissus Project at Downing College, Cambridge University, and is now working on research in conjunction with Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh, establishing a trail of the Backhouse Narcissus and ferns collected by the Backhouse botanists and plant hunters.

Jonathan’s research and purpose of the collection is to showcase the  diversity held within a small number of Scadoxus species, and the  variation within and between species populations.
He has worked on the genus with University of Oslo, supplying plant material for research on the origins of Scadoxus puniceus. He has also been able to assist with research by Dr. John David for analysis in research of the family Amaryllidaceae.
Since 2006, Jonathan has been on field trips in Africa to see Scadoxus, in their native habitat, attended international conferences, to further his research and promoting the importance of National Plant Collections. Jonathan has also had articles published in botanical journals.

More information on all these collections is available on our website and will appear in the next Journal.

Plant Heritage news updates
Our programme of press releases has seen a number of articles being published online, in magazines and national newspapers, and highlighted in local radio interviews.  You can keep up to date with our news on the website, including features on Arecaceae at Ventnor Botanic Gardenthe Irish Heritage plant groupnew collections on allotments,  a new home for the Dahlia collection in Cornwall.
We have recently been awarded a grant from the Lottery Heritage Fund, to assist with the digitisation of plant records and information.
Images: Dahlia ‘Show n Tell’ © Plant Heritage; Washington Avenue © Ventnor Botanic Gardens; Kniphofia ‘Sunningdale Yellow © A Gladman
Talks and workshops – book now at;
Windsor’s World of Rhododendrons – looking to the future, by John Anderson, Thur 13 Jan 6.30pm.  John will look at both species and hybrids. £4.

Cultivation of Temperate Aroids, by Kit Strange, Thur 20th Jan 7.30pm.  Kit has been an alpine horticulturalist at Kew Gardens for 17 years, specialises in bulbous plants. She has travelled widely looking at plants in the wild and worked closely with colleagues in the Falkland Islands to conserve and propagate native species. Arranged by Hampshire Group. Free to Plant Heritage members, non-members £5.

Colourful Climbers, by Jane Lindsay. Thur 3rd Feb, 6.30-8pm. Tynings Plants will enlighten us on plants held in their 4 National Plant Collections: Passiflora, Jasminum, Thunbergia and Mandevilla. £4.

Arts and crafts gardens: gardens of a golden afternoon by Simon Gulliver. Tue 15 Feb 6.30pm.  Free to Plant Heritage members, non-members £5.

Growing on the edge! by Richard Baines, Curator at Logan Botanic Garden. Thur 24 Feb 6.30pm. Growing exotics looking after four National Collections is an ongoing challenge in our ever changing climate. Get an insight into the amazing range of plants that thrive at ‘Scotland’s Most Exotic Garden’. £5.

to book please visit;

Save the date
Members day and Plant Exchange on Saturday 23 April, 10-4pm at Renishaw Hall Gardens, near Sheffield. Talks by National Collection Holders with lunch. Full details to follow in the New Year.

Images: Passiflora x violacea ‘Victoria’, Colocasia gaoligongensisRhododendron facetum (subsection Parishia)

Workshops on Zoom
Workshops are free to National Collection Holders, those in the process of applying for a National Collection and for collections coordinators.  Where spare places available, we will open them to members at a cost of £10

International Cultivar Registration Authorities (ICRAs), 12th January, 2-3pm
What are they, what do they do and what is involved in becoming one?
Melanie Underwood from the RHS will be on hand to explain more.

Taxonomy, 17th January 2022, 2-4pm. Dr Dawn Edwards, RHS horticultural taxonomist, editor of RHS Plant Finder and Lead RHS Editor of The Hillier Manual of Trees & Shrubs will run a session on taxonomy and nomenclature for cultivated plants. There will be the opportunity to put your questions to Dawn – if possible can you submit these in advance as it will help refine which areas of this vast subject to cover.

Plant Health and Biosecurity, 7th February, 2-5pm
Virtual workshop and discussion session, which will include steps to take to maintain a biosecure garden, pest and disease updates with Jassy Drakulic (RHS plant pathologist) and a session on current legislation and more, from APHA.
Plant importing, exporting and collecting, Thursday 17th February, 2-4.30pm.
Including a talk from APHA on the current rules for moving plants across borders, Phil Rusted of Practical Plants, the commercial nursery perspective on importing, plus collection holders Jonathan Hutchinson (Scadoxus), Mellie Lewis (Aeonium) and Biserka Stringer-Horne (Hoya) talking about experiences of plant collecting, covering the legalities, ethics, permissions etc, with time allocated for wider discussion.

For more details please visit;

If you have any particular questions you would like to raise with APHA, or have had issues with importing plant material please submit these on the registration form, or email

Supporting Plant Heritage whilst shopping online is easy and it won’t cost you any extra.  Simply list Plant Heritage as your preferred charity and every time you shop, a small percentage of the purchase price will then be donated to Plant Heritage by the company, on your behalf.  And even though the amounts are small, they really do add up. You can try these website links, and if you download the donation reminder, a message will pop up to ensure you do not miss requesting a donation.  Thank you.                                                                     
Research workshop

Whilst the weather is lousy, why not lose yourself in some plant research?

Last month our conservation team held an online session on research for National Collections, featuring sessions from collection holders on tracking down correct cultivar names, researching an historical collection, and use of genetic testing methods to identify species in a collection.

The conservation team also did a session on useful online resources for research.

Growing Seeds to add plant variety
Our autumn Seed Sale is available on our website – a great opportunity for you to choose something new to grow for next year.

We would welcome new donations of seed – please send to Seed Shop, 12 Home Farm, Loseley Park, Guildford, Surrey GU3 1HS. Please label donations with the common/botanical name of the seed, when and where it was collected (eg back garden), plus the name of the donor.

This helps us encourage people to add plant variety to their gardens, highlighting our work whilst raising valuable funds. Many thanks.

Rare plant of the month
Colchicum ‘Princess Astrid’.  
Colchicum ‘Princess Astrid’…or is it ‘Autumn Queen’? © M Stone

How do you tell a princess from a queen?

Liz has been investigating a plant that has been in both our Plant Exchange and Plant Guardian scheme.

It has a long and tangled history, going back over 100 years, but is it really a princess, or should it be crowned a queen?

For full story and blog please visit;

Keep in touch: Collection Holders can join our private Plant Heritage Collection Holders Facebook Group. Everyone can join our public Plant Heritage Plant Guardian Facebook page and  members can join our private Members group too.
Facebook and

When posting please remember to add #NationalPlantCollection  #plantheritage or @plantheritage so we see your posts.

Thank you to the Sponsors of our National Plant Collections Directory – Griffin Glasshouses,  and to our Gold Corporate members – Candide UKBarton Grange Garden Centre and Shanly Homes.

Upcoming IGPS events;

The Munster Committee presents:

Hester Forde on the 01.02.2022

The Munster Committee presents:

Neil Porteous on the 01.03.2022

Please forward any pictures or anecdotes you may wish to share with your fellow IGPS members to;

With best wishes for the New Year, 2022

from Branka and
the dedicated Committee members of the IGPS

Happy Gardening