Threatened Plant of Year Competition

Horticultural conservation charity Plant Heritage is calling for garden and plant enthusiasts across the UK to enter their ‘Threatened Plant of the Year 2021’ competition.

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.

The Threatened Plant of the Year competition launched in 2020 and the first ever winning plant was the beautiful Clematis montana var rubens ‘Veitch’, grown by National Plant Holder, Val Le May Neville-Parry in Wiltshire. Winning the public vote, chosen by visitors to the Plant Heritage website, was Melanie Lewis’ Aeonium ‘Bronze Teacup’, a National Plant Collection Holder based in Shropshire. (Both pictured above)

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.”

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!”

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

Picture credits: middle above – (left) Clematis montana var. rubens ‘Veitch’ © Plant Heritage, and Aeonium ‘Bronze Teacup’ (right)© Melanie Lewis.

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