Living Plant Collection Review

Living Plant Collections – Creation and Management

Living plant collections are a vital part of all botanic and zoological gardens, whether they provide attractive displays, habitat, education resources or contribute to a conservation program.

My extensive experience with plant collections has included horticultural maintenance; horticultural research; the establishment and management of botanic gardens, and; plant conservation.

As a botanic garden consultant, I am able to offer the experience and knowledge I have gained from a number of organisations, a range of activities and the many contacts I have made throughout the world.

The services I offer are:

  1. The planning for and establishment of new botanic gardens and arboreta or the living plant collections in new zoos.
  • Nature of the plant displays whether indigenous, exotic or both
  • Purpose of the plant displays
  • Selection of plants for the displays
  • Sourcing of the plants

(see my case studies for Alice Springs Desert Park and Oman Botanic Gardens)


  1. Managing living plant collections in existing botanic gardens, arboreta and zoos.
  • Creation of living collections in new or established gardens
  • Review of existing collections in terms of their:
    • purpose
    • content
    • uniqueness
    • success as a horticultural display
    • relevance to education
    • relevance to conservation
    • other options if they fail to achieve their purpose
  • Preparation of a living collection strategy
  • Management of the collection, including:
    • Plant selection – the process
    • Accessioning of plant material
    • Records and record keeping
    • Removal and de-accessioning


3. Interpretation plans for plant displays.

  • Review of current interpretation including the labelling of plants
  • Recommendations for new interpretation
  • Preparation of interpretive text
  • Exploration of suitable app. based interpretation
  1. Ex situ plant conservation.
  • Review of plant conservation collection
  • Preparation of a conservation plan including recommendations for other collections and possible connections with in situ conservation.

5. Facilitation of living collection meetings and staff training programs

  • Organisation and holding of conferences, workshops and staff training

  1. Review and updating of existing living collection policies, plans and operations.