THE POTTING SHED UK Jan/Feb Issue 2014 - Page 29

Plant Heritage is delighted to welcome a new Collection of Cercidiphyllum to its nationwide programme of National Plant Collections.

The Collection has been established in the grounds of the Sir Harold Hiller Gardens, Hampshire, which is home to one of the largest collections of hardy trees and shrubs in the world.

Cercidiphyllum is a genus containing two species of plants, both commonly called Katsura and are native to Japan and China. The trees are not new to the arboretum at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, being first planted in the arboretum in 1950’s. However, it wasn’t until 2002 that the Collection was extended with additional plantings, which now includes 17 different taxa. All cultivars in the collection have been sourced from specialist nurseries and collectors within the UK.

Speaking on the new Collection status, Wolfgang Bopp, Director of the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens said that the trees are attractive with their delicate heart shaped leaves and red leaf stalks, although it is in autumn that they really come into their own providing the most stunning butter yellow autumn colour, and giving off a strong scent of burnt sugar. “Stand under one of these trees in autumn on a nice calm day and you’ll be wondering where the candy floss machine is,” he said. Wolfgang says that the next few weeks is the time to visit the gardens and experience the autumn show at their best.

Speaking on the new Collection, Plant Heritage Plant Conservation Officer, Mercy Morris said: “Cercidiphyllum are truly beautiful trees, and the scent is really something unique in this country.

The Sir Harold Hillier Gardens really are head and shoulders above the other large gardens by having a remarkable 13 Collections now; it would be good to see someone try to catch them up. It is an outstanding contribution to cultivated plant conservation.”

The Sir Harold Hiller Gardens began as a private collection in 1953 by Sir Harold Hiller. Today, the garden covers 180 acres, now has 13 National Plant Collections, 12,000 different plant taxa and welcomes 160,000 visitors a year. The gardens and arboretum are open daily from 10am-6pm, 5 pm November to March, closed Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

New National Collection of Cercidiphyllum for Plant Heritage