This document is an important way point in the development of the garden. It documents in writing the current principles and functioning of the garden.
I took the liberty take the texts from the policy paper of the National Botanic Garden of Wales. I am very grateful for both the BGCI and this garden.
This Policy applies and has relevance to the whole of the Botanical Garden Château Pérouse inclusive of the research- and test-gardens and the nurseries.
The national and international context of botanic gardens, across issues as diverse as the environment, climate change and quality of life, means that each needs to have in place a Living Collection Policy that guides its holdings.
In the case of young botanic gardens in early phases of development, it is particularly important that broad scope and flexibility are provided for within the policy. Additionally the requirements of national and international legislation must be recognized and numerous inter-related policies and conventions need to be taken into consideration.
Through the demonstration of careful and effective stewardship, botanic garden collections can be passed on to successive generations in ways that measurably contribute to conserving biodiversity, extend our understanding of plant science, and increase the benefits that can be derived from plants.
The purpose of this Policy is to ensure that the Garden’s Living Plant Collection is well managed now and in the future, ensuring that all plants cultivated are fit for purpose and meet the needs of everyone who interacts with them.
In keeping with other botanic gardens from around the world the Garden’s Living Plant Collection Policy has been designed to take account of the following essential considerations:
These will be dealt with in more detail below.
Key objectives of the policy are to ensure that the Living Plant Collection:
The Botanical Garden Château Pérouse operates within a set of national and international policies, acts, guidelines, action plans and legislative frameworks. National and international policies of particular relevance to the Living Plant Collection are as follows.
The purpose of the Convention on Biological Diversity is the:
The Botanical Garden Château Pérouse strives to set the highest standards of compliance within the spirit and law of Convention on Biological Diversity, when acquiring, transferring or using living plant material. Areas of compliance will include:
Other areas of direct relevance of Convention on Biological Diversity to the work of the Botanical Garden Château Pérouse include the following Articles:
The opportunities and responsibilities that these Articles bring are largely the responsibility of the Horticulture Team and will ensure that the Living Plant Collection is managed accordingly and can be used to promote them.
The purpose of the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation is the conservation of plants for which 16 outcome targets were set. Those of particular relevance to the Garden are:
Within the French context there are a number of actions that are relevant to the Living Plant Collection among those listed by the European Consortium of Botanic Gardens. These are briefly outlined:
The above targets provide an important steer for the nature and content of the Garden’s Living Plant Collection.
This agenda, which is constantly evolving, provides a global framework for the development of botanic garden policies and programs relevant to biodiversity conservation. By signing up to the International Agenda to support the aims and objectives of it through the Living Plant Collection, the Garden will:
Other strategies, action plans and conventions impact the collection policy of The Botanical Garden Château Pérouse and these have been taken into consideration in the formation of the Living Plant Collection Policy. Relevant documents are the:
There is now little doubt that the world’s climate is changing and becoming more erratic. It is not possible to predict the long-term effects and impact on the Living Plant Collection but it is important that this Policy reflects the possibilities, as indicated by the latest international thinking. In its core mission and imperative of long-term sustainability in the way in which it uses resources, the Garden must:
The Living Plant Collection Policy reflects the diverse expectations and demands as well as particular uses placed on the Living Plant Collection by internal and external users and stakeholders including:
Internal stakeholders and users:
External stakeholders and users:
The Living Plant Collection supports research and conservation programs. The Curator and Horticulture team in the Garden will aim for the highest standards of cultivation, representation and liaison to support this by:
Education is core to the Garden’s mission. The Living Plant Collection has to offer educational opportunities and inspiring experiences to a divers advances. Is also has to offer connecting themes on diversity in nature to the diversity of human cultures. This Policy recognizes the importance of the Living Plant Collection and the Horticulture Team in providing plant material to support this endeavor on the following terms:
The interpretation of new and existing plantings will always aim to provide for the widest possible audience using diverse, appropriate, and engaging media to add to the visitor experience and contribute to the Garden’s mission. Planting designs have been developed for the whole Botanical Garden.
Interpretation will adapted and achieved through collaboration between staff from across the Garden, including Education, Horticulture, Science and Marketing. Horticulture in particular has a significant contribution to make and it should be recognized that it may sometimes lead or drive the interpretive process.
The plants will all be tested in Test Gardens before interpretation:
The Botanical Garden Château Pérouse will be a significant and iconic visitor attraction and recreation space. The Living Plant Collection, along with the landscape and infrastructure, constitutes ‘the Garden’ and therefore its maintenance and quality are paramount in serving the needs of the visiting public. The Living Plant Collections are the lynch pin creating the Garden and increasing visitor numbers is a vital component of a viable and sustainable botanic garden. This Policy recognizes that a poorly maintained Living Plant Collection will have negative impacts well beyond the reputation of the horticultural staff. In recognizing the importance of the visiting public the horticultural staff will:
A Living Plant Collection is only as good as the information attached to the plants in it. The quality, integrity, accessibility, and way in which that information is used are paramount. This Policy identifies the critical importance of good plant records in the Garden’s Living Plant Collection and their value to its use and proper management. Elements to be covered include:
The quality and extent of field and other data associated with plants in the Living Plant Collections determine and impact on their value and usefulness. Where possible the following data with a voucher specimen should be obtained:
Checking and monitoring plants on a regular basis with a periodicity of stock-take suitable to the subject are essential. A background half-year pattern of stock-take provides a basis for most collections with more regular monitoring for newly planted or susceptible individuals ranging to three-yearly checking of established woody plants. These checks should be conducted, in all cases, to appropriate standards and include:
The Garden aims to achieve its monitoring by exploring and harnessing appropriate new technologies.
The importance of published and accessible records of plant holdings purposes is recognized. Given resource constraints, the dynamic nature of living collections and changes in technologies, a published hard-copy catalogue is not envisaged. Instead all of the garden’s catalogue is accessible on-line, and ‘live’, with any sensitive information being appropriately restricted.
The use of new technologies are embraced by the Garden for:
Ensuring all data are stored in compatible formats, with robust and regular agreed security backup protocols adhered to will be an expected part of the Living Plant Collections Policy implementation. Such matters form part of the Garden Wide Risk Register and are recognized in the Garden’s Business Continuity Planning and procedures.
The use of targets to prioritize and audit work on the Living Plant Collection is clear and these also provide bench marks to review and drive up standards where necessary. Targets should not become an end in their own right and instead should be regarded as guide. Many outside influences beyond control of the Curator may radically affect targets, for example extreme weather and resource constraints, so a suitable degree of flexibility in setting and assessing targets is essential.
Any target setting for the Living Plant Collection needs to be in context with the types of collection and needs to recognize the diversity of attention and/or special management that may be required for its different elements. In considering any target a careful balance needs to be reached between acquiring new material and maintaining what we have to high standards – both vital considerations in curating the collection.
Accurate naming is paramount. As a young garden which has grown fast and already faced many resource challenges, verification of plant identification and naming are perceived as an area of potential weakness and a heavy reliance is placed the botanists to improve this.
Currently 85% of the Living Plant Collection is not of wild origin, with 15% being of known wild origin. Verification of the Living Plant Collection is ongoing work. New accessions should reflect the needs of the Living Plant Collection and should be of a quantity that can be managed with the resources available.
Targets for the Living Plant Collection over the next 5 years are to:
When reviewing the Living Plant Collection it is important that the plant records information is up-to-date; therefore stock taking is a vital prerequisite. The routine rolling review should aim to cover:
The Audit will be undertaken every year. By doing this Living Plant Collection trends will become evident over a period of time so that long-term impacts such as those due to climate change can be taken into account in developing the Policy. As with audits in other spheres, a suitable approach is the use of sub-sets of key families and genera as also microclimate sub-sets and geographical zone sub-sets for this.
Verification is important because visitors, general public, students, educators, researchers and others rely on plants being correctly named. Reputational risk is inevitable if plants are found to be incorrectly named. However, it has to be acknowledged that the process of verification is resource intensive and can be slow, and for this reason priorities have to be set. The Curator and other suitably experienced horticultural staff should be involved in the verification process. Additional expertise and consultancy resource is not likely to be sufficiently available and therefore priorities need to be identified.
Verification priorities are:
All the above categories may include plants of known wild origin, which will take priority over plants of unknown origin and/or cultivars.
This is a sizable task, and the Living Plant Collection can only benefit from recording as much information as possible. However, resource constraints mean it will be beneficial to prioritise, for example starting the process with plants of conservation importance and those which are of importance to the Garden for research and science. Information capture could include:
Labelling is vital to link all information held in the records with the plants themselves. The current use and styles of labels at The Botanical Garden Château Pérouse are currently as follows:
The content of labels within the Living Plant Collection has as a minimum of the following information:
Imparting information to the public is the reason of existence of the garden. The problems with labels in this context are clear. The limitation of label size, as well as the need for clarity and consistency overall, inevitably enforces brevity. Therefore in general more extensive interpretation should be offered by other means (see notes below).
Common names are frequently requested by the visiting public and lack of them is often remarked in visitor surveys. Whilst common names are desirable and suitable in some instances, more generally they introduce a series of difficulties, and particularly so in the multilingual of today.
The limitations for displaying these on labels are:
The development of new technologies alleviate the necessity of labels for the public. The Botanical Garden Château Pérouse is using ‘Smartphone’ technology making it possible for visitors to access diverse information in a multi-layered way. Our focus for the next years will be to write small articles about every taxon and taking pictures to complete the information for the public.
This part of the Living Plant Collections Policy concentrates on the visual and heritage value of the Garden, the use of cultivars and general aspects of collection display such as geographical representation.
In considering the landscape of the Garden the following should be noted:
Well documented wild origin plants and cultivated plants from other plant collections are at the core of a modern scientific botanical collection. However cultivars also have a role to play for:
On this basis the selection of cultivars is just as important as of wild origin material in order to tie in with the policy or mission of the Garden. By setting out the criteria for selection, this Policy determines which plants should or could be grown.
Within the framework of the Living Plant Collections Policy a ‘Representation Policy’ provides guidelines for layout and display of plants on the ground. Two of the most obvious approaches are taxonomic representation (where species from e.g. the same genus are grouped together for comparison) and geographic representation (where plants from the same geographical region are grouped together). Other options may include interpretative planting or climate change groupings.
The term ‘ecological planting’ is occasionally used to describe a ‘geographical’ or ‘phyto-geographical planting’. However, it would be better to consider these as quite distinct and an ecological planting should simply refer to ecological niches and habitat types. Any or all of these different planting representations may be used as need and utility dictates, but care should be taken in distinguishing between and defining these different types when used.
The preferred approach to representation should be an advance on the geographical model and feature species of ethno-botanical, conservation or education interest or a combination of these. All plantings should be designed with the potential for interpretation in mind. Consultation with interpretation and education staff is expected.
Any plantings that have a strong representational component likely to be linked to research, conservation or education should be reviewed critically with this in mind. The aim will be every five years to co-ordinate a widely collaborative consultation on the collections with other departments and relevant interest groups amongst the Garden staff.
The representational theme for The Botanical Garden Château Pérouse are Mediterranean landscapes from all over the world as they have been perceived in national parks or other parks open to the public in all these areas.
As well as the main forms of botanic garden display representation (such as taxonomic and geographical representations) there may be specific types of collection that require careful attention or special management.
The entire Living Plant Collections should be regarded as a research resource potentially for use by colleagues and students internally and externally. As such it is vital that the highest standards of record keeping, verification and cultivation are maintained to ensure it and its individual component plants are fit for research purposes. Supporting the cultivation of plants for research is one of the most important uses of the Living Plant Collections and ways in which it can do this are listed in under Stakeholders and User Groups.
Besides the botanical garden the research garden provide an excellent possibility to do experiences and learn about the taxon behavior before the integration in the botanical gardens.
Conservation Collections are those which are held for the following reasons:
Any Conservation Collections undertaken at The Botanical Garden Château Pérouse should be prioritized. The following list, although not exhaustive, articulates a sound footing for such collections:
Specific collections that are being developed and are core to The Botanical Garden Château Pérouse are the Mediterranean Collections. Other collections are largely ornamental and further collection development is part of the overall Horticulture Strategy Plan.
To ensure the development of a collection that fulfils the criteria described above, plants need to be acquired. This can include gathering plants or seeds on fieldwork at home or abroad, obtaining seed from Index Semina or bringing in plants from other collections. All these methods of acquisition require policies and protocols to create an orderly process, ensure that priorities are followed avoiding confusion or duplication, and ensure statutory compliance. Equally important, systems to move plants out of collections to elsewhere, to dispose of or sell plants (for example through gift or commercial sales of propagated material) or to de-access completely are required.
Fieldwork provides an important opportunity to acquire new plants for the Living Plant Collections. This however needs to be planned carefully to ensure compliance with Convention on Biological Diversity and sufficient funding for the undertaking.
Fieldwork would commonly entail a two year lead-in time. As it is an important method of fulfilling the targets and objectives set out in this Policy, well-conducted fieldwork as an integral part of the strategic planning process will help to avoid duplication and enable priorities to be determined:
Many botanic gardens produce an Index Seminum as one of their main missions. The problem of acquiring plants from these catalogues is that garden-gathered seed is frequently of hybrid or unknown origin and therefore is of limited value for research. Such material is therefore best avoided. Like all plants they need to be strictly verified. It may be acceptable to obtain plants by this means.
It is highly unlikely that plants from commercial catalogues will be of well documented wild origin, or if and where such plants are from wild origin the likelihood of compliance with Convention on Biological Diversity may be uncertain. Such material is therefore best avoided. However, legitimate commercial plant sales can be obtained. Again like all plants they need to be strictly verified.
With the increased interest in biodiversity and conservation, changes in science and specific international policies such as Convention on Biological Diversity and the Global Strategy for Plant Conservation necessarily lead to a method of prioritizing acquisitions that take these factors into consideration. Using these criteria acquisitions may be for any of a variety of distinct purposes:
The storage and sowing of seed need to be informed by guidelines for best practice. Where quantities of seed are received from wild origin and viability is uncertain, it is clearly wasteful to sow all seed at once if only a few plants are required (unless there are only a few seeds). However due to the unknown viability and storage requirements of much wild origin material, it is important to sow as much as is needed and for any ‘surplus’ seed to be adequately stored or gifted to other bona fide organizations. At times seeds storage may be needed to:
It is essential where plants are being raised for specific projects that there is a sensible balance between numbers sown and numbers stored for the future. A regular, organised programme for re-sowings of short-lived species needs to be agreed between the nursery team leader and team leaders in the Garden.
Where short-lived or annual plants have their seed collected in the Garden, it is important that such material is re-accessioned as second generation. This is necessary to ensure that the material (previously wild origin) is re-designated as cultivated from known wild origin source. Such practice recognizes that differences and genetic drift will arise for example, through open pollination with other sources, or because of the restricted gene pool held. Furthermore, due to open-pollination, verification of re-sows will be necessary.
Any material governed by regulation that is transferred elsewhere will, as a matter of usual protocol, be accompanied by a Material Transfer.
Given the threats to plants and their habitats, modern thinking in botanic gardens is that the important genetic diversity of wild origin material should not be de-accessed. If a plant must be de-accessed then the following cascading procedure should be undertaken:
In order to create and sustain a climate in which respectful discussions of diversity are encouraged and take leadership in creating opportunities for interaction and cross group learning the botanical garden embraces the following, core values:
This Policy applies and has relevance to the whole of the Botanical Garden Château Pérouse inclusive of the research- and test-gardens and the nurseries.
The Garden recognises that its activities have a potential environmental impact, both positive and negative, upon the environment locally, nationally and globally. In addition, the Garden acknowledges its responsibility to meet the needs of the environment currently, without compromising future generations.
The purpose of this policy is to ensure that the Garden actively strives to manage its activities and resources in ways that are environmentally sustainable now and into the future. The policy also seeks out and communicate the Garden’s intentions to all its stakeholders including trustees, staff, volunteers and visitors so that there is clarity about its intentions and the expectations that individuals are expected or asked to support.
Under this policy the Garden is committed to:
The Garden will routinely review its systems and processes in relation to this policy endeavouring to maintain a continuous cycle of improvement.
The Garden will communicate this policy and strategy to staff, the public and wider stakeholders to raise awareness to all groups of their own responsibilities and requirements to contribute and commit to wider environmental improvements.
In the next phase of the development of the Garden we will have a target plan but for now we are testing many techniques among which: