One of our ongoing projects in the Science department has been contributing to the conservation of meadow clary, Salvia pratensis. A rare plant, meadow clary is only known at 23 sites across the UK. It was only ever found at one site in Wales, but in 2004 this population was declared lost from the wild.
It was to this former Welsh home that we returned to in October, bringing meadow clary grown on here at the Garden with seed from UK populations. In total, the Garden had grown over 300 meadow clary plants, and we drove 76 of them down the M4 to join with plants supplied by Bristol Zoo Gardens and Treborth Botanic Gardens.
Working with Natural Resources Wales to conserve meadow clary
We joined up with Natural Resources Wales to help with the meadow clary reintroduction, supplying our plants and some hands for the planting. Our Head of Science, Natasha de Vere and our research interns Tim and Zara all pitched in.
I don’t think any of us in the Science department would boast to be an expert in horticulture, so it was reassuring to also be joined by Garden trustee Camilla Swift who was on hand to offer expertise plus plenty of tea and cake. It helped keep our group well fed, as we spent the day planting out the 150 meadow clary individuals into five separate plots.
Natural Resources Wales is working to monitor these reintroduced plants, furthering our understanding of the best management for meadow clary’s continued survival. NRW has also produced this three-minute film about the project, which you can watch in the slideshow above.