GUEST ESSAY Vive l'Horticulture de Conservation
Keywords:Conservation horticulture, Education, Public engagement
Conservation horticulture is an emerging and increasingly important function for all botanic gardens, but it is an activity that can be difficult to explain and to promote. Part of that difficulty lies in its name, and a few alternatives are suggested in this Guest Essay – such as Care for the Rare, Raising Rarity, and Plant Rescue and Care Unit – all currently in use at Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria (RBGV) for more narrowly scoped but pioneering projects. In reimagining conservation horticulture at RBGV we want to draw on the public’s intrinsic interest in and affinity with plants, rather than taking a defensive stand against what is often called ‘plant blindness’. Raising Rarity 2.0 is likely to combine commercialisation of rare species, innovative blending of amenity and conservation horticulture, and even stronger partnerships with schools and local government. As I prepare to leave RBGV after 25 years in senior management of botanic gardens, I’m supporting a grassroots push from horticultural and research staff to add conservation horticulture (whatever we call it) to our already potent mix of nature, culture and science.
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