Hi, I`m Barry Clarke, a professional horticulturalist/Botanist and plant records officer for one of the country`s leading Botanical Gardens, The Sir Harold Hillier Gardens in Romsey. The Gardens has the largest collection of hardy trees and shrubs in the World, masses of herbaceous too and is well known for its collection of rare trees and shrubs. The Gardens is a must for any plant lover. (www.hilliergardens.org.uk). I have been with the Gardens for 13 years, but my passion for plants started many years before that. Previously, I ran a small specialist nursery on the Isle of Wight. I specialized in Australasian flora, particularly Bottle Brushes (Melaleuca Species). I also grow many species of Passiflora and other exotic shrubs and climbers, particularly rare fruits.
Plant Heritage (NCCPG) ( www.nccpg.com )
This conservation charity are an amazing organisation. They have now brought together and support over 600 National plant collections and are doing outstanding work to conserve garden plants in the U.K. Not only do they support an incredible range of plant collections, they also have, under their umbrella, many historically collections and those of scientific importance too. Plant Heritage are present at many of the RHS Shows and have a whole marquee devoted to the National Collections at the Hampton Court Flower Show every year.
National Collection of Rubus Species
I started collecting Rubus in the mid 90`s. The first plant I grew was a thornless bramble,Rubus fruticosus 'No Thorn'. I researched this plant and found that there were hundreds, possibly thousands of species Worldwide. The diversity of leaves, flowers and fruits amazed me and sparked an interest in collecting. By 2000 I had most species available from nurseries, so I was determined to find more species for myself in the wild. The opportunity came in 2005, for me to travel and collect in China, with support from the Southern Chinese Botanic Garden in Guangxi and The National Botanic Garden in Beijing, and have added many new species to the collection from this and other expeditions to China,Taiwan,Malaysia,Thailand,Mexico and the Philippines. Other plant enthusiasts, Botanic Gardens and horticultural organizations have also been very generous and my collection stands at over 200 species. Although not within the scope of my National Collection, I also grow many cultivars. My collection has featured on several programs including Gardener's World and the Great British Garden Revival. I have many medals for my exhibitions at Chelsea, Hampton Court and other RHS flowers shows, including 2 Golds.
National Collection of Lobelia Species
I was awarded the National Collection status in November 2011 for my Lobelia collection. I have collected Lobelias in a small way since my nursery days in the late 90's and the Lxspeciosavarieties were some of the first plants I propagated for sale.The collection focuses on the wild species of which there are over 300. They come from various habitats and are a global genus. The largest concentration of species are in Northern America and Southern Africa. The U.K has 2 native species. The genus includes dwarf alpines, herbaceous perennials, annual herbs and giant tree lobelias from Africa and the Hawaiian Islands. My growing collection, which stands at around 45 species, has also seen much support from several Botanic Gardens, including Birmingham Botanic Gardens and Kew. Several non U.K Gardens have also given support.
National Collection of Asclepias
This is a genus of around 200 fascinating herbaceous perennials spread throughout North America, Mexico and Central America, with around 20 species found in Southern Africa (Some species from Africa are now reclassified as Gomphorcarpus). Known, most often, by the common names of Milkweed or Butterfly Weed. The latin name is derived from the name for the Greek God of healing-Asclepius, as it is believed that the plant has healing qualities and has been used in herbal medicines for centuries.
For me this plant is a real joy when it flowers in late spring and summer. Not only are there many colourful species and cultivars to choose from, but the scent of some is quite exquisite. They are superb for attracting bees and butterflies into the garden, as they have huge amounts of nectar. My collection now stands at around 50 species and cultivars.
The collections are available to see, by appointment. Any support is very much appreciated.
Talks and Lectures
I am available to give talks, demonstrations and workshops to interested groups, on subjects including: *Plant Collecting, Rubus, Asclepias, Lobelias, Plant propagation- Seed,Cuttings, Grafting and Budding, Plant Breeding, Basic Botany, Taxonomy and Nomenclature, The Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Plant Heritage
Please feel free to email me for a quote.
Plants for Sale
I do produce a certain amount of plants for sale each year, this not only includes my National Collection plants, but also unusual varieties of other genera. Plants are available at certain shows where I will be exhibiting. Plants will be available at the following shows this year.
Hampton Court Flower Show (Hertiage Marquee) 29th June - 5th July 2015
Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have about Rubus, Asclepias, Lobelias and their cultivation.
I am always happy to exchange plants with Gardens and associations or provide material for scientific purposes.
If you have a Rubus you need identifying or a plant you think maybe one and you need it confirming, please contact me. Of course if you have a species that is not on my collection lists. I would love to hear from you and maybe exchange some plants!