Botanist's Lens: Preserving Plants in Peril - The Public Garden Way


London Town's woodland gardens: Rhododendron 'Dexter', with Ostrich Fern and wild ginger


Our goal for the Plant Sale is to bring you closer to London Town's unique living collections and conservation goals. On Saturday, September 26 (9am - 2pm), you can take home botanical specimens directly transplanted from the grounds at London Town and specimens matching London Town's collections (e.g., ephemerals, bulbs, ground covers, shrubs, mid-canopy layers and more).


Plants in peril - those that are rare, threatened and endangered in the wild - need our attention now. Some flora and fauna have fragile populations in the wild. Zoos and botanical gardens are sanctuaries for ex-situ conservation of these species. Learn more here.


"In situ is Latin for 'on site', in situ conservation is therefore the conservation of species diversity within normal and natural habitats and ecosystems. By comparison, ex situ conservation focuses on safeguarding species by keeping them in places such as seed banks or living collections. Because our natural systems face many threats, conserving them is not easy, and must use many techniques." - Botanic Gardens Conservation International

Primary goals of curation of London Town's plant collections are:

  1. responsible ex-situ conservation of species

  2. building sustainable landscapes with informed ecological restoration choices

  3. utilizing sound propagation practices for further enhancement of species


The Plant Sale includes plant material that directly comes from London Town's grounds as a way of sharing unique botanical specimens grown with care. Conservation is critical for those species of which only a few are left in the wild. Conservation is also key to bringing attention to many species that go unnoticed, for not every plant is as common as the bright red knock out rose. For example, did you know that Asarum canadense, wild ginger, is considered threatened in Maine?


Star Anise, Illicium floridanum


Anise Trees, Illicum henryi and Illicium floridanum, both grow prolifically at London Town. Both are considered threatened in the wild. A beautiful evergreen shrub, it would go unnoticed as its flowers aren't as bright as roses or tulips. But what makes Illiciums cool is that they were one of the first flowering plants to evolve!


All plants at the sale are grown in zone 7-9. Also, for the first time, we will have seeds for sale, collected from London Town's unique collections. The current list of plants and seeds are available here.


Plants from London Town's gardens: From left to right: Sinocalycanthus, Jack in the Pulpit (Arisaema ringens), Azalea seed capsule, Azalea 'Glen Dale', Camellia on Azalea glade, Illicium henryi


Given the constant change in urban and forested landscapes, plants aren't in peril alone. Sustainable landscapes, fragile habitats and vulnerable plant relations are also in peril. With informed knowledge of species and plant relations, one can contribute immensely to saving a habitat, saving a species, regardless of its origin. Come and join us on September 26th and learn about woodland plants that deserve a second look.