New garden cultivars are constantly being developed and old ones disappear. In order to preserve older cultivars for the future, the Swedish Programme for Diversity of Cultivated PLants (POM) started in 2002, and the National Gene Bank in Alnarp opened in 2016. In Alnarp, older cultivars grow in large fields.
As a back up to the living plant collections, there are local clone archives all around Sweden. One of them is situated here in the Botanical Garden of Lund University. Here, ornamental perennials from Skåne are grown.
These plants cannot be preserved using seeds, because seeds may be the result of crossing between the cultivar to be preserved and other cultivars. Therefore, the plants are propagated by division and flowerheads are removed before they set seed.
Look at the signs
The plants have been collected from many different localities. The signs tell us where the plant is known to have been cultivated, and how far back in time we are sure it was cultivated there. This alpine lady's mantle, for example, originates from a garden in Hurva where it is known to have been in cultivation at least since the early 1940s.
This primrose (Primula vulgaris) was cultivated in Rut’s childhood garden in Ingelstorp near Ystad in the 1920’s. Her own son Stig also grew up with this garden. Stig remembers a circular planting with an apple tree. Around it grew ferns with the primrose as an edge plant. Stig has kept on growing the primrose in his own garden.
The sepals of ’Rut’ are converted to petals so that each flower appears to have two layers of petals.
Photo: Linnea Oskarsson, Swedish National genebank