As plants fall out of fashion or are superseded, vital genetic traits could simply vanish, unless they are taken into care and shared with others. If the expertise to grow and propagate them is also lost, our ability to conserve our unique garden flora is placed under significant threat.
Plant Heritage was formed to help minimise this risk across Britain and Ireland, to ensure that the incredible diversity of cultivated plants, whether for food, medicine, ornament or heritage, remains available for generations to come.
Individuals, or organisations undertake to document, develop and preserve a comprehensive collection of one group of plants in trust for the future. When such a collection meets the stringent criteria of Plant Heritage it is awarded the status of a National Plant Collection.
We hold the Plant Heritage National Plant Collection® of Rosemary cultivars.
With more than 130 varieties, this is believed to be the largest collection of rosemaries in the world.
The collection is held at our nursery. Although the climate is mild here, which suits the more tender varieties, it is also wet. Rosemaries do not tolerate water-logging so we protect the collection by growing them in polytunnels.
In addition, our soils are heavy so we grow the rosemaries in pots. This means that, every so often, we need to repot them.
Since 2003, we have used Fertile Fibre composts for growing plants at our nursery and this includes the rosemaries.
We use it because it is:
In common with other nurseries, we regularly trial new composts but have yet to find one that grows better plants than Fertile Fibre.
In 2016, we needed to repot our entire National Collection. For each cultivar in the collection we hold at least three specimens. This meant we had more than 400 plants to repot. We placed an order with Fertile Fibre for a pallet of compost explaining that half of it was for repotting the collection.
Matthew Dent (the owner of Fertile Fibre) very generously donated 1250 litres of compost for us to use.
After just one week in their new compost these rosemaries (Sorcerer's Apprentice on the left, Joyce DeBaggio a variegated rosemary, on the right) are looking good, with healthy fresh growth clearly visible.
Our thanks go to Matt and everyone at Fertile Fibre for their generosity and for producing such a wonderful award winning product.
The PDF file below lists all the rosemary cultivars in the collection. Click on the icon below to view the file.
We cannot propagate all the cultivars of rosemary in the collection for sale. Therefore, we select some of the best varieties for our online sales. Very rarely, we do have some of the other cultivars for sale and our choice of these is supplied in our 'Really Rare' selection.
Therefore, please do not ask us for specific cultivars from the list above as we will have to decline.