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Monday, March 3, 2014

Plant Guardians

Though there’s always something worthy of writing about, it’s a valuable point to make about endangered species and rare plant materials on this March Monday morning.  Today’s thought provoking post stems from a recent article, ‘How to Help Save Rare Plants by becoming a Plant Heritage Guardian’.  Though it comes from across the pond, it should intrigue all gardeners worldwide, specifically those here in the U.S. green and design industry to take a closer look.
In the last few years, just in our neck of the woods, a few of our favorite specialty nurseries that cater to carrying the unusual plant materials closed up shop. Whether it’s the struggling economy, the age of the owners or just a shift of interest, it seems that finding unusual plants as well as the invaluable knowledge of these astute nursery folks, well, it's going by the wayside.
While there’s genuine garden excitement that brews in these first weeks of March, it's often lost in the rest of the hyped-up spring, summer activities. So let’s pitch a new theme on this March 3rd morning. Let’s take an individual vow to become a plant guardian.
Whether you're the keeper of some rare plant materials or just take a deeper interest in the overall garden world, one important and often overlooked component is the face behind these plants.  To keep a steady stream of invaluable knowledge trickling down to the next generation, it takes active participation or else many of these faces behind the plants are lost. Much like our local farmers, most of the current plant guardians (specialty nurseries) have an average age of 60. 
We should be following the Brits’ lead. Let's look closely at being a plant guardian. The Brits take all of this a tad more seriously than us. They’ve been collecting longer and have a few hundred years up on North America but we shouldn’t just expect someone else to pick up the pieces. We should take it to heart and be our own plant guardians.
On that note, let’s call it a Monday wrap. Are you ready to take on this March challenge? In the words of Cicero, “Memory is the treasury and guardian of all things." It doesn't take many words to make a point.
Image by Greg Bilowz © Crocus sativus: Saffron Crocus
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© 2009 Ann St. Jean-Bilowz/Bilowz Associates Inc. (including all photographs, unless otherwise noted in Annie's Gardening Corner are the property of Bilowz Associates Inc. and shall not be reproduced in any manner nor are they to be assigned to any third party without the expressed written permission and consent of Bilowz Associates Inc.)