The Provenance of Plants

Wednesday, 21 December 2016  |  Admin

The past decade or two have seen a revolution in our interest in food.  Who would have thought even a few years ago that we would spend as much time looking at the labels on packaging as we do at the food itself?  And our interest is not just in the ingredients, it is increasingly in the origin of food, too. Has an apple been sprayed? How are pigs raised?  How ‘free’ are free range eggs? Is something as organic as its label claims?

When it comes to food all these questions are increasingly important.  Provenance matters.  Many customers willingly pay a little more to ensure the food they are eating is good, nutritious and healthy.

At Botanica, we believe that provenance is just as important for plants. By English provenance we mean knowing that the seed or cutting originated from a plant grown in this country. If a plant says it is UK grown it is not the same as having UK provenance. Some stockists bring continental plants into this country and by growing them on for 6 months call them “English grown.” Others buy UK provenance seed and then grow the plants on in Holland calling them “UK Provenance” but they are not UK grown. At a nursery such as Botanica you get both UK provenance and UK grown.

Price isn’t the first thing to look for when buying plants.  If you are looking for a plant that is going to last and one that is going to thrive, it needs to be healthy.  And there is no better way of ensuring the health of a plant than buying it from a nursery that has propagated it and properly grown it on, caring at each stage of the process.

A large number of plants and trees in nurseries and garden centres in Britain today are imported.  And that can cause problems including plants that bring in diseases.  Ash Die Back is just one of the more recent on a long list of imported diseases which have wreaked havoc on native flora and fauna.

British / English grown plants are far more likely to do well in our conditions than those that have been imported. British species of native plants are unique to these islands and have adapted to our climate and conditions. Plants grown by a nursery with the same ethics as Botanica will establish themselves quickly and because they are more suited to the British climate they are more likely to thrive. Continental plants come from a colder climate and when they are brought to a milder British climate they normally come into growth and flower earlier. This has practical implications as insects are then not available as food at crucial times when for example birds are rearing their young. That is not good for the ecosystem.  The healthier the ecosystem in your garden, the healthier your plants will be.

We passionately believe that it is far, far better to pay just a little more for a plant that is really British.  And if you can get one from a grower - such as Botanica – which has looked after the plant for its entire life, it has the best chance of really establishing itself in the landscape, be it your farm, estate or garden.  And a truly healthy plant not only looks good, it will last well and will benefit nature too.

Provenance is important for plants and when it comes to native trees it is absolutely critical.

Click here for tips for buying native plants and trees