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What is the NCCPG?
and what is Plant Heritage?


The objectives of the NCCPG are laid out in it's Mission Statement:

"The NCCPG seeks to conserve, document, promote and make available Britain and Ireland's rich biodiversity of garden plants for the benefit of everyone through horticulture, education and science."

The name of the organisation tells much about it's origins and aspirations. The charity was set up in 1978 as a result of a conference held by the RHS about loss of old varieties of garden plants because of the greater breeding of new varieties and the improvements in garden worthiness, mass production and wholesaling, and the economics of limiting the number of varieties on Nursery Lists. It was not a membership organisation at that time, thus "National Council", and the means by which the conservation of garden plants would best be achieved were still to be explored. The National Collections Scheme had not yet been conceived, and the loss of old, established large gardens, and their plant variety contents was seen as a very important means towards conservation.

The official name is the same today (no matter how inappropriate) and the aims are broadly the same, but the means have developed. The Gardens part of the aims, have become less important and given way to organisations such as the Historic Gardens Trust and Cadw. Education of the millions of ordinary gardeners, and encouragement of the tens of thousands of most enthusiastic gardeners is seen to have greater potential to conservation. So it has become a membership organisation with Local Area Groups in 40 parts of the country all with their own programme of conservation activities including having a presence at many national gardening events. The other main focus of activity is the National Plant Collection® scheme which was set up in 1980, as the first independent conservation project for cultivated plants in the world, and remains today the largest and all encompassing in the world with over 600 National Collections and 50,000 plants under cultivation.

Plant Heritage
What is Plant Heritage?

For a number of years the NCCPG had been using the name "Plant Heritage" as a descriptive addition alongside the organisation name initials, "NCCPG". They have also been using Jim's Mann Taylor's phrase "Conservation through cultivation", which is far more useful being instructive as well as descriptive. "Plant Heritage" came from an attempt in the past to find an alternative name for the organisation, which was not really taken to by the membership when thought up, and put to one side. It has now been brought forward again as a "working name", which allows it to be used as the name for the work of the NCCPG whilst not actually legally changing the organisation name. This seems to mean that both are correct to use, but what are the public to make of it. The HDRA are sited as following this route substituting "Garden Organic" for the "HDRA". Funnily enough the membership of the HDRA membership were of the same mind, wanting to retain the original name, which is why, presumably that this unofficial name change was imposed. However "Garden Organic" has taken over as the name people know and so we can look forward to "Plant Heritage" taking over from "NCCPG".

For more information on the NCCPG/Plant Heritage and it's activities, how to join and become involved, what publications are available and if your area has a local group, go to their website at www.nccpg.org.uk / www.plantheritage.org.uk .


The NCCPG/PlantHeritage logo


What is the National Council for Plants and Gardens?

What is a National Plant Collection?


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