Plant Heritage calls for garden enthusiasts across the UK to enter competition which celebrates rare and unusual plants
Now in its second year, the competition showcases rare and unusual cultivars that are not currently available commercially or haven’t been consistently available to buy from garden centres or nurseries. They must be named cultivars that have been grown or sold in the UK or Ireland prior to 2005.
Anyone can enter this competition (you don’t have to be a Plant Heritage member) and cultivars from any plant group can be entered, so long as the entry requirements are met. The competition runs until Saturday 15th May 2021. To find out more and to enter, visit www.plantheritage.org.uk/conservation/threatened-plant-of-the-year-competition
After applications close on the 15th May, a shortlist will be drawn up by an expert panel from Plant Heritage. Those shortlisted will be displayed at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival in July (Covid-19 allowing), where the winner will be crowned and will receive the Threatened Plant of the Year 2021 trophy, a winner’s certificate and a special plant label.
Vicki Cooke, Conservation Manager at Plant Heritage says: “The UK is a nation of keen gardeners, and what better way to celebrate our horticultural heritage and love for gardening than to enter a competition that showcases unusual plants that are rarely seen. Gardening (of both indoor and outdoor plants) has proved a lifeline for many during the Covid-19 pandemic, and we hope our competition is something positive that everyone can get involved in this spring, providing their plants meet the entry requirements. Two stunning plants won last year, and we can’t wait to see what the country has to offer this year!”
The Threatened Plant of the Year competition was launched in 2020. The first ever winning plant was the beautiful Clematis montana var. rubens ‘Veitch’, a compact variety not often seen with pink, wide open flowers and grown by National Plant Collection Holder, Val Le May Neville-Parry in Wiltshire. Shropshire based National Plant Collection Holder, Melanie Lewis’ Aeonium ‘Bronze Teacup’ won the Public Vote, as chosen by visitors to Plant Heritage’s website. As the RHS Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival couldn’t take place in 2020, it is hoped that these winning plants will also be displayed at this year’s festival, alongside the entries for 2021.
Speaking about her award win last year, 2020 winner, Val Le May Neville-Parry said: “I am honoured that my Clematis ‘Veitch’ has won the competition. I’ve worked hard over the last 30 years to conserve many varieties of Clematis, and not only do I have the only National Plant Collection of Clematis Montana Group, I also now care for the first ever Threatened Plant of the Year winner – I couldn’t be more thrilled.”
To find out more about Plant Heritage, its National Plant Collections or for information about how to become a Collection Holder, Plant Guardian or member, visit www.plantheritage.org.uk