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The National Plant Collection® of Polemonium, Collomia and Gilia (Polemoniaceae)

"The National Plant Collection® of Fragaria vesca

The National Plant Collection® of Hakonechloa


The collection was recognised in 1992 where the Polemoniums were grown in a small garden in Ebchester, County Durham, UK. In 1998 the entire collection was moved twenty five miles east to Trimdon Grange, where the winds blow straight off the north east coast.The collection was awarded Scientific Status in 1999, one of only 35 of the 650 plus collections in the UK. The collection was established by Dianne Nichol-Brown and her late husband David. Dianne is a botanist with a first class honours degree in plant biology, a lecturer in ecology and conservation and has had an interest in the genus since 1985.

The collection was awarded Scientific Status in 1999, one of only 35 of the 650 plus collections in the UK.

There are 70 plus species and cultivars in the Polemonium collection, with new cultivars being developed regularly. They range from 10cm Alpines to 120cm herbaceous and can be grown in a variety of locations including under conifers.

The plants are often incorrectly named by nurseries and seed suppliers, Mainly P. boreale, caeruleum and pauciflorum are sold under various names. In tests Dianne and David that found approximately 90% of all seed is incorrectly named, including seeds from some of the large reputable suppliers.

In 2002 the Collomia and Gilia were added to the collection, these require similar growing conditions to Polemoniums. Dianne has visited many gardens and sites in her research including Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh as shown in the picture

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November 2006, Dianne and David were awarded collection status on Hakonechloa(Japanese Forrest grass), which is not a relative of Polemoniums but requires the same growing conditions and they do look good together.

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The National Plant Collection of Fragaria vesca was added in 2016 with an extensive range of cultivars providing fruit all the year round. Some plants are purely ornamental-for example Fragaris vesca var. monophylla -the first mention made of this Strawberry, is in Duchesne's Histoire naturelle des Fraisiers, with its complete history, and from which we learn, that it was originally found by him at Versailles, in the Year 1761, from seeds of the Wood Strawberry.

From France this plant has been conveyed to most parts of Europe;, but it is certainly very little known in this country: in the 14th edit of the Syst. Veg. of Linnaeus, it appears as a species under the name of monophylla, originally imposed on it by Duchesne; Linnaeus, however, has his doubts as to its being a species distinct from vesca, and not without reason; for it can certainly be regarded as a very singular variety only; its origin indeed is a proof of this; in addition to which plants raised from the runners will sometimes, though very rarely indeed, have three leave instead of one. Fragaria vesca var. muricata (see picture)has green spines instead of achenes, introduced by the botanist Tradescant.
Dianne grows over 20 taxa in pots and containers and in beds for production

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The world’s leading cultivated plant conservation charity, bringing together the talents of botanists, horticulturalists and conservationists and the dedication of keen amateur and professional gardeners. Through a number of conservation projects, including the National Plant Collections and Threatened Plants Project, The Polemonium Plantery is helping to safeguard our unique garden flora across Britain and Ireland.

To find out more visit NCCPG and our local group NCCPGNE

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