The Plant Atlantic Project at Memorial University Botanical Garden
Plant Atlantic is a project developed by the Memorial University Botanical Garden for the Research and Development of new and under-used ornamental plants for the Atlantic Canadian Nursery Industry. The goal of this project is to establish a home-based production industry in Atlantic Canada for hardy ornamental plants. This project has been made possible by a grant provided by the Atlantic Innovation Fund of ACOA.
The research and development team of Plant Atlantic is composed of plant researchers from the Memorial University Botanical Garden and the Nova Scotia Agricultural College. We will select and breed new plants and propagate them by classical cuttings (MUNBG) or by biotechnological methods of tissue culture and micro-propagation (NSAC). MUNBG will be responsible for much of the marketing of these new and/or under-utilized plants and making these plants available wholesale to local plant nurseries.
Sources of new plants:
Plant Atlantic will select new hardy ornamental plants from several sources. One source is the already known ornamentals that are currently under-used or relatively unknown in the local nursery industry. The Botanical Garden is an obvious source for these relatively unknown ornamentals. Many of the plants in our collection have come from the UK and while those plants may be known in European gardens, they are often uncommon if not completely unknown in North American gardens. Plant Atlantic hopes to make these plants more widely available. The grounds of the Nova Scotia Agricultural College also have some uncommon plants in their collection which can be an added source of new plant material. Heritage varieties of plants are another source of ‘new’ plants. What is old is new again and there is a surge in the demand for the ‘tried and true’ plants that are often tougher and more disease/insect resistant than many of the newer cultivars on the market. The Botanical Garden’s heritage garden is the obvious source for these old plant varieties. Plant Atlantic also has an active breeding program so look for some of our own Newfoundland bred garden ornamentals in the near future.
Overall, we will refer to these new and/or underutilized plants as ‘Plant Atlantic Recommended Plants’.