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Author Topic: Setting up a plant conservation research nursery.  (Read 15929 times)

FossilPlants

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Setting up a plant conservation research nursery.
« on: November 27, 2015, 08:54:20 PM »
Hello all,
Earlier this year the Scottish Rock Garden Club amazingly gave my partner and I a bursary toward a trip to South Africa. On the trip we found and collected seed (with the relevant permits)of many members of the Proteaceae from altitudes over 1000m (many from nearly 2000m which is high for the South West Cape). The plan is to research the resulting plants suitability for horticulture in the UK and for those plants that are threatened in the wild to research their horticulture so as to inform any future ex-situ conservation.
I now need to grow that seed.
Just as growing proteas up here in cold, wet North Wales breaks the mould I have decided the only way is to continue breaking the mould and do something completely different by crowd funding the project. I have found some land for a nursery I now just need to sort out all the infrastructure for it too.

http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/plant-conservation-research-nursery/

I really hope some of the members of SRGC may think it a worthwhile project and help or if you cant help yourself please pass it on to someone that you think might.

Best wishes

Robbie

Maggi Young

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Re: Setting up a plant conservation research nursery.
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2015, 09:02:30 PM »
A most interesting  project from Robbie - to learn a bit more about the trip he received an SRGC Grant towards see here  http://www.fossilplants.co.uk/search-proteas/

The  fundraising page includes photos of the site Robbie has found to establish the nursery project  8)
« Last Edit: November 27, 2015, 09:04:45 PM by Maggi Young »
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

Editor: International Rock Gardener e-magazine

Tristan_He

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Re: Setting up a plant conservation research nursery.
« Reply #2 on: December 25, 2015, 04:22:47 PM »
Hi Robbie. I also live in N Wales and have tried growing Proteaceae from seed some years ago, from seed from Kirstenbosch and Silverhill. I found them easy and fun to germinate - just set fire to the seeds with a match, then sow (no need for mucking around with smoke pads etc). Growing them on was the problem though as they seem to be very fussy with soil requirements. I had quite a bit of success in pots with some species using a very well-drained, low nutrient mix based on Seramis - a bit like for Cypripedium. I think I may even have got one to flower. However, I didn't have the space or time to maintain so many plants in pots and so in the end I gave most of them to Bangor Botanic Garden at Treborth. I don't know if they still have any.

I did experiment with planting a few of the theoretically hardier types out in the garden, but they did not grow and died over the winter.

One thing I heard about more recently was that for years nobody could grow northern hemisphere conifers (pines etc) in the southern hemisphere. Plants languished and eventually died, showing evidence of nutrient deficiency. Eventually someone imported some soil with the right mycorhizal fungi and now they grow very well. I wonder if the same applies to some Proteaceae?

Good luck anyway.
Best, Tristan
« Last Edit: December 25, 2015, 10:23:43 PM by Tristan_He »

Graeme

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Re: Setting up a plant conservation research nursery.
« Reply #3 on: December 25, 2015, 07:22:17 PM »
When we first started with the nursery I was advised to run it as a charity for the preservation of plants - also have a word with your Local Council as they will have an economic growth department and will probably have grants available for new businesses.  Most councils towards the end of last year had huge amounts of money to assist economic growth - if I had been in a position last year to put up the money to finish the last bit of development on the nursery the council would have given me nearly 50% as a grant.  I have enquired this year but it seems that the funding has dried up a bit.  Good luck with the project
"Never believe anything you read on the Internet" Oscar Wilde

FossilPlants

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Re: Setting up a plant conservation research nursery.
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2016, 09:03:26 PM »
Thanks Graeme,
That's a brilliant tip! I shall get in touch with them.

FossilPlants

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Re: Setting up a plant conservation research nursery.
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2016, 09:09:27 PM »
Hi Tristan,
I wonder why your proteaceae didn't grow on well? We grow many different members of the family already and have the national collection of South Eastern Australian Banksia sp here in North Wales (all outside). I am afraid Treborth Botanic gardens no longer has any Proteas in the collection.

Tristan_He

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Re: Setting up a plant conservation research nursery.
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2016, 12:06:03 PM »
Hi Robbie, really don't know, hence my wondering about mycorhizae. They did seem very fussy about soil. Mine were all S African, of course some of the Australian species seem a lot easier (e.g. Grevillea).

Do you grow your Banksias outside? Whereabouts are you based?

Best, Tristan


Tim Ingram

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Re: Setting up a plant conservation research nursery.
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2016, 01:14:00 PM »
Fascinating to hear that you are growing many Banksia species outside in N. Wales Robbie. I remember talking to someone once who grew some on the Lleyn Peninsula which must be very mild - but wet! We grew them for quite a while on the nursery here with winter protection but they are hardly a commercial enterprise. Tim Pyner, leading light in the BPS, (who lives near/in Southend) has grown B. marginata outside for many years and this must be about the hardiest species. I expect Graham Hutchins may have grown some too at County Park Nursery. Now Graham Blunt (Plantbase) is growing a good number well, along with proteas, using 'air-pots'.

They mostly grow in such poor low fertility soils (rather like a lot of Ericaceae) that you would think mycorhizae would be important. We grew them in a mix of ericaceous compost and sand - sometimes builders ballast - quite successfully, though proteas seemed a lot more tricky than banksias. They form those wonderful congested Proteoid roots, which greatly facilitate nutrient uptake from poor soils. I would be particularly interested in growing species such as Bellendena montana (Mountain Rocket) and Telopea truncata from Tasmania but our soil is really too fertile! Maybe along with these gardeners might begin to grow the S. African ericas again in much greater variety?
Dr. Timothy John Ingram. Nurseryman & gardener with strong interest in plants of Mediterranean-type climates and dryland alpines. Garden in Kent, UK. www.coptonash.plus.com

Darren

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Re: Setting up a plant conservation research nursery.
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2016, 01:51:51 PM »
I've grown several Proteas (and other Fynbos plants) from seed:

P.cynaroides - which I still have.
P.laurifolia
Leucadendron argenteum (which grows huge but the seeds were a freebie so I tried it - eventually to dispose of the seedlings when they threatened to get taller than me!

And the lovely Protea nana, which I've grown and flowered twice from seed. This was OK outside in it's pot until the very bad winter of 2009-2010, which killed it. The others above were/are overwintered under glass.


I echo comments about soil. My successes were almost all using a mix of sterile peat and grit. Since trying to use peat-free alternatives I've had terrible problems with damping-off (or other early demise) with both Protea and Erica. The Restios still do OK though. If I can get seed of P. nana again I'd try it in seramis or similar. Problem then is feeding the plants enough to compensate for the sterile medium, without poisoning them with too much nutrient (especially P).

Darren Sleep. Nr Lancaster UK.

FossilPlants

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Re: Setting up a plant conservation research nursery.
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2016, 02:07:39 PM »
Proteaceae don't have a mycorryzal relationship like other plants. They have proteoid roots (cluster roots) that are extremely adept a mining nutrition from the soils. They are so well adapted to the old southern hemisphere soils and their low organic nutrient content that they have no upper limit as to the amount of phosphate uptake they can handle. This unfortunately means they are very negatively impacted by high phosphates and as such this is more often their cause of death (or phytopthora) than climate conditions.
I grow over 100 different members of the proteaceae here in North Wales about 50% of which are growing outside. They are growing in specially made beds for the more wet intolerant species and in our open garden for those from higher rainfall zones. I am lucky that I have a particularly sheltered garden and don't doubt that we will one-day see a winter that will have a devastating impact but I keep potted backup of all my plants so hopefully will be able to ride that storm.
Protea cynaroides is currently flowering in our garden and has seen -6c and 12" of snow!

FossilPlants

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Re: Setting up a plant conservation research nursery.
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2016, 03:06:47 PM »
A picture of Protea cynaroides in the garden outside in North Wales
« Last Edit: January 12, 2016, 03:22:02 PM by Maggi Young »

Maggi Young

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Re: Setting up a plant conservation research nursery.
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2016, 03:23:28 PM »
A picture of Protea cynaroides in the garden outside in North Wales

   Not the sort of plant one expects to see outdoors in the UK, is it?!!  Where there's a will....
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

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Maggi Young

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Re: Setting up a plant conservation research nursery.
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2016, 03:38:25 PM »
For those who were not able to see Robbie's recent appearance on TV in Gardeners' World, here is a YouTube link for the programme :

 http://youtu.be/yl9WegvzK2w?list=PL4DWqGQoaC_Zg9g7Vp0vRTKtkCafGHGSZ

(Full link https://youtu.be/yl9WegvzK2w?list=PL4DWqGQoaC_Zg9g7Vp0vRTKtkCafGHGSZ  )
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

Editor: International Rock Gardener e-magazine

Maggi Young

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Re: Setting up a plant conservation research nursery.
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2016, 03:26:28 PM »
News from Robbie about an exciting new venture for him ...

"Whilst the day to day remains the same there's a new challenge ahead at the Natural History Museum in London - ‘Fossilplants’ at the Natural History Museum, London! "

http://www.fossilplants.co.uk/little-imaginings-big-dreams/
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

Editor: International Rock Gardener e-magazine

Maggi Young

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Re: Setting up a plant conservation research nursery.
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2016, 09:21:05 PM »
From Robbie- news about the conservation nursery -
"The biggest change yet happened at the nursery site over the past couple of days and I have to say it couldn't have been more timely."

 Read more here : http://www.blackhalls.co.uk/the-nursery-10th-august-2016/
Margaret Young in Aberdeen, North East Scotland Zone 7 -ish!

Editor: International Rock Gardener e-magazine

 


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