A bewitching collection

PUBLISHED: 14:43 03 April 2009 | UPDATED: 15:54 20 February 2013

More National Plant Collections are needed - is there a treasure to be unearthed in your plot?

More National Plant Collections are needed - is there a treasure to be unearthed in your plot?

Pat Edwards's Albrighton garden is home to a nationally recognised Hamamelis, commonly known as Witch Hazel. More National Plant Collections are needed - is there a treasure to be unearthed in your plot?

Pat Edwards's Albrighton garden is home to a nationally recognised Hamamelis, commonly known as Witch Hazel. More National Plant Collections are needed - is there a treasure to be unearthed in your plot?



Our quest to feature National Plant Collections in Shropshire takes us to Albrighton this month. Before we wander around Pat Edwards's garden, a few words about the National Plant Collection scheme in Britain and Ireland. It is coordinated by Plant Heritage (formerly the National Council for the Conservation of Plants & Gardens - NCCPG), Patron: HRH The Prince of Wales.

Individuals and organisations undertake to document, develop and conserve comprehensive collections of Britain and Ireland's garden plants for the benefit of everyone. They grow about 75 per cent or more of the range of plants in the genus concerned. This may not be as hard as it sounds - there are only six types listed for Fatsia, 30 types of Nicotiana, and 37 for Alcea. You don't need a large garden. In a back garden in Hertfordshire just 70ft long by 35ft wide there are three National Collections - Thymus, Satureja and Hyssopus.

There are more than 650 such specialist collections (17 in Shropshire) but more National Plant Collection holders are needed. Plant Heritage has a top 10 list of plants for which there are no collections, they are: Achillea, Alcea, Alstroemeria, Calendula, Cercis, Fatsia, Lobelia, Monarda, Nicotiana and Tagetes. If you are interested, contact Plant Heritage - details at the bottom of the page.

Returning to Swallow Hayes in Albrighton, we learn that the extensive garden was started in 1968. Pat Edwards and her late husband, Mike, a nurseryman had built a house in a field and now began to construct a garden. Mike was a nurseryman and Pat is a nurserywoman (she is now a director of Boningale Nursery which specialises in container plants) so they knew what they are doing.

The garden is extensive and includes many interesting features such as Yew Tree Cottage, a toad in a well and bats (not real ones) in a grotto. There are lawns and borders, a kitchen garden, a wild wood, ponds and streams and a secret garden - all cleverly landscaped around three sides of the house.

In 1886, Mike began planting Hamamelis (commonly known as witch hazel) for the scent they give off in the winter. In due course Mike and Pat had acquired 54 plant types and National Plant Collection status. Pat is a founder member of the Shropshire Group of Plant Heritage and Swallow Hayes was first opened to the public in 1974.

Incidentally, the house name comes from the swallows that used to sit on the telegraph wires and hayes, which Pat believes means a gathering.

Each year in January, Swallow Hayes is open for visitors to appreciate the Hamamelis, enjoy refreshments and buy plants. No garden looks its best in the winter though, which is why Pat Edwards opens it again in the summer - May 3 and 4 and May 31 this year. Make sure you go.

National Plant Collection of Hamamelis®, Mrs P Edwards, Swallow Hayes, Rectory Road, Albrighton, WV7 3EP. Tel: 01902 372624. Email: patedwards70@btinternet.com

Plant Heritage membership

Plant Heritage helps protect and conserve cultivated plants. In Shropshire, there are 17 National Plant Collections®. Each year, a member of the Plant Heritage receives a copy of the National Plant Collections Directory, two issues of Plant Heritage journal and regular newsletters, plus they can attend plant sales and lectures and visit gardens across the UK.

Annual membership of Plant Heritage costs £25. Go to www.nccpg.com or telephone 01483 447540.

There is an active Shropshire Group of Plant Heritage which has regular events. On April 9 at 7.30pm in the Council Chamber, Shire Hall, Shrewsbury there is a propagation and plant exchange evening plus a talk by Mercy Morris, Conservation Officer, Plant Heritage Head Office.

The Shropshire Group membership secretary is Diana Perry, Cloverleigh, Shaw Lane, Albrighton WV7 3DT. Tel: 01902 372827. www.nccpgshropshire.org.uk

0 comments

More from Homes & Garden

Friday, October 5, 2018

We look through the keyhole of some of the Cotswolds’ most luxurious houses on the property market

Read more
Friday, August 31, 2018

Rural energy provider, Calor, gives some top tips for homeowners wanting to make their houses cosy and warm in time for the colder months.

Read more
Monday, April 16, 2018

Whether you're an avid gardener or a lover of all things outdoors, we pick some of the most beautiful gardens in the Cotswolds we think are definitely worth a visit.

Read more

Latest

Latest Competitions & Offers

Topics of Interest

A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad
subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search