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New initiative encourages islanders to choose native plants

New initiative encourages islanders to choose native plants

Wednesday 06 April 2022

New initiative encourages islanders to choose native plants

Wednesday 06 April 2022


A new initiative called Grow Guernsey Natives has been launched to help preserve Guernsey’s native plant species.

The initiative is a collaboration between the Botany Section of La Societe Guernesiaise and GROW Limited and will see native plants grown and sold by the charity.

Former British plant expert at the Natural History Museum, Dr Fred Rumsey, came to Guernsey for the launch and will spend the week working with La Societe Guernesiaise.

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Pictured: Botanist Dr Fred Rumsey is spending the week in Guernsey promoting native species.

“This is a fantastic initiative and it will be hugely important for the island,” said Dr Rumsey.

“Islands are natural laboratories for evolution and there are a number of species that are unique to Guernsey. Island environments are very vulnerable to change and competing plants and pests. With Guernsey’s long history of growing and horticulture it’s important to protect the treasures that can be found here.

“I am very much looking forward to spending the week helping to increase knowledge of different plants which are difficult to identify. Roaming the tranquil lanes of Guernsey is one of the most relaxing and special jobs a botanist could ask for.”

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Pictured: Native plants and seeds are available to buy from GROW Limited. 

The initiative aims to educate and promote the planting of native and naturalised plant species in local gardens. Seven species of native plant are now available to purchase from GROW Limited, with 80% of the proceeds going to the charity and 20% going to La Societe Guernesiaise.

Raymond Evison, of Raymond Evison Clematis, created the initiative.

“I knew that the Bailiwick of Guernsey had a number of rare and endemic plant species but not until I attended the lecture given by Helen Litchfield in the Autumn of 2020 did I realise that the Bailiwick of Guernsey has 167 plant species that are considered rare in the British Isles and that 34 of those species are only found in less than 25 locations in the British Isles,” he said.

“It is only with the great help of Chris Chatfield and his vast knowledge of plant propagation that we have been able to start this exciting initiative, to help secure the future of our rare local plant species.”

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Pictured: Jess Aughton and Richard Evison. 

GROW Limited Manager, Jess Aughton, said the charity was “delighted” to be involved: “We are very excited to be a part of this venture and play a part in conserving native plants.

“The range of plants available will be increasing, we hope to ultimately end up with around 20 to 25 different native and naturalised plant species for sale.”

Helen Litchfield of the Botany Section said the initiative was important for the island.

“Native plant species are vital for local insects and wildlife and our gardens can be a great place to support these local plants and insect life."

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Pictured: The native plants are available to buy from GROW Limited's temporary site at Avondale Vinery.

Ms Litchfield continued: “The Botany Section of La Societe Guernesiaise wish to thank Raymond because, without his enthusiasm, hard work and resources, this project would not have progressed.

“We would like to thank all who have helped contribute to the launch of Grow Guernsey Natives, including The Strategy for Nature Fund for their generous donation, CLIP for constructing cold frames for the plants; Raymond Evison together with Chris Chatfield for growing the plants and GROW Limited for selling the plants.

“We are encouraging people to “choose native” when buying plants to help bolster and preserve these species. Each plant purchased, in addition to ensuring preservation of the species, will fund the work going forward.”

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