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Instead of the real plant display we had planned, we took part in the first ever RHS Virtual Chelsea Flower Show. For this we created a video introduced by our President Alan Titchmarsh, highlighting the stories of four National Plant Collections.

We have introduced fortnightly virtual talks from our National Plant Collection Holders covering fascinating subjects from irises and roses to peonies. Booking is available via www.plantheritage.org.uk/events and is open to all. More online talks will be planned for the future too.

Plant Heritage has, like many other charities and organisations across the world, been affected by Covid-19. All events and major shows have sadly been cancelled or postponed, meaning our members have not been able to host meetings, talks, garden visits or plant sales since March. But the work of Plant Heritage continues and plants won’t stop growing because of lockdown. We have continued to encourage people to enjoy plants and gardening if they can, such as promoting our National Plant Collection Holders who were able to offer mail-order of plants during lockdown.

Our immediate priority was to reach out to our members, and as lockdown was extended, we became more creative in doing so. We increased the frequency of our communications through e-newsletters, letters, and social media – Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – and we also found that members kept in touch with each other via email, WhatsApp or Facebook groups and Zoom.

We are now offering our seed shop (which is usually at RHS Hampton Court Garden Festival in July) online. Have a look at www.plantheritage.org.uk/shop to find some unusual seeds to try growing!

Plant Heritage has over 650 National Plant Collections across the UK, and each Collection Holder conserves rare cultivars within their collections. We helped our 400+ Collection Holders to maintain their collections and promoted those that offered mail-order during lockdown. We also supported local nurseries and growers (who normally attend our plant fairs) with our campaign ‘Think Local’.

Plant Heritage members are passionate about plants, and some members set-up mini, social distanced, plant sales from their driveways. Plant Heritage Guernsey offered telephone plant sales for the first time.

We are proud to provide the very highest quality selection of seeds, and to maintain that quality through rigorous testing. Our independent, government-certified seed laboratory conducts regular, intensive trials to ensure that our seeds meet or exceed the Canada Number One germination rate. West Coast Seeds only offers non-GMO, non-GEO seeds, that are never chemically treated.

As part of our mission to help repair the world, we place a high priority on education and community outreach. Our intent is to encourage sustainable, organic growing practices through knowledge and support. We believe in the principles of eating locally produced food whenever possible, sharing gardening wisdom, and teaching people how to grow from seed.

Each year West Coast Seeds supports groups and organizations worldwide, through seed donations. We are proud to partner with a number of honourable causes, allowing us to promote sustainable organic growing practices. By providing seeds and materials in support of growing and environmental education programs, we continue to build community relationships and encourage others to join us in our mission to help repair the world.

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