Posted: 11/06/2013 at 20:00
Pippin2, you may be interested in the following reply I have recently received from Flemmings Nursery as to the provinance of their dsiplay plants used at Chelsea this year.
Thanks for taking the time to check the facts about the trees that we used at Chelsea. We have heard of a number of negative messages out there, but not many people have bothered to check what the story really is. It is pleasing to see though that there are people who care enough about the plants to be outraged at the concept of them being illegally harvested and treated as disposable items - we would be similarly horrified if this was happening. All of the plants that were used in the 2013 Trailfinders Australian Garden presented by Fleming's were sourced from nurseries in Italy, Spain and England. Some of them, particularly the Xanthorrhoea and Dicksonia would originally have been exported from Australia to Europe. The Australian government at state and federal levels have a very strict licensing system that governs the harvesting of Australian native plants from both public and private land. There are also very strict export regulations associated with exporting Australian native plants to ensure that only those that have been legally harvested can be exported. In the vast majority of cases it is only possible to harvest plants from areas that will be cleared for other approved purposes. We had initially hoped that we would be able to use some boabs (Adansonia gregorii) that were to be cleared in Western Australia as part of the expansion of an irrigation scheme, but despite months of negotiations we were unable to finalise the licence to take these within our timeframe, even though the approval for clearing them had been granted. The harvest of Australian native plants is very strictly controlled and it is not possible to simply 'rip things from the wild'. Like all plants the long term survivability of the Xanthorrhoea is dependent on a number of factors. Once a plant has been shipped from the Southern hemisphere to the Northern hemisphere it can take several seasons for them to adjust to the change in seasons. In order for Australian native plants to be of a standard suitable for display at Chelsea they need to have been growing in the northern hemisphere for a number of years. Given that all of the trees that we used have been growing in pots in Europe for an extended period of time there is no reason to suggest that they will in any way suffer from being displayed at Chelsea. The Xanthorrhoea that were used in our garden were all still in their pots, so suffered no disturbance to their root system. Post Chelsea all plants were either sold, returned to a nursery or donated to a garden project. As a nursery who specialise in trees we well aware of the importance and environmental value of all plants, but particularly trees - it would not sit at all comfortably with us to have these items destroyed. Perhaps this answers some of your concerns?