Anne Tweddle took to gardening with a passion after moving to a new house in Suffolk, spurred her to join conservation charity Plant Heritage (PH) over 20 years ago after reading about them in a magazine. “I was soon propagating plants for my local branch sales and their National Plant Exchange, which all members can access, and since then I’ve never looked back!” said Anne.
Anne, who previously had a marketing career with an oil company in London, had no previous gardening experience, but quickly took to propagating plants of all kinds, and is now self-styled ‘propagating officer’ for her local PH branch. “An alpine plant expert came to show us how to propagate snowdrops by twin-scaling. It was a revelation and as a result a group of us started propagating rare and unusual snowdrops and daffodils to help conserve them and make them more widely available.”
'Pink Raspail’ was saved from destruction by a Plant Heritage member
As one of the charities Plant Guardians Anne looks after hardy chrysanthemums and pelargoniums, with seven varieties of the latter currently in her care. “They’re all obtained through the Plant Exchange scheme,” explained Anne. Three favourites are ‘King of the Boars’, an enigmatic variety about which Anne knows little. ‘Roller’s Satinique’, an American-bred, scented leaf-variety, with a straggly habit, but amazing salmon-pink flowers, and ‘Pink Raspail’, grown at Pyrford Court, Surrey in the 1920’s, and only saved by a PH member obtaining cuttings before all the original plants were unwittingly destroyed.
“Any member can become a Plant Guardian, the only stipulation being that no more than two nurseries list any particular plant for sale and it’s very rewarding to be part of that!”
How you can be a plant hero
You can help preserve unusual plants in your garden! The Plant Heritage charity works to conserve the nation’s garden plants through the National Plant Collection Scheme and Individual Plant Guardians, and is looking for Garden news readers to get involved with its crucial work.